We congratulate Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Greeting him is personal to me even if I don’t know him personally. I was a civilian employee at Camp Aguinaldo in the mid-1970s and we went to the wake of his late father, Brig. Gen. Teodulfo Bautista who, together with his soldiers and the then adjutant general whose name I fail to recall, was lured into an ambush in 1977. The elder Bautista was there to have a dialogue with the Muslim rebels.
It was so heartbreaking to see so many coffins, about 33 of them if I remember right, at the HPA gymnasium where the victims were brought. I joined their grieving families and uniformed personnel and the AFP civilian employees there, sharing their grief and loss. I felt so sad then and mourned in private for two weeks. Working with soldiers, I identified with them.
I know that the late General Bautista would have been so proud of his son today. The younger Bautista is an accomplished officer and his appointment as chief of staff is well-deserved.
—DALENE B. LAPUZ,