Gen. Salvador Mison next AFP chief?
Almost a month ago on Aug. 27, during the commemoration of National Heroes Day at Libingan ng mga Bayani, President Duterte declared that seniority, not politics, was the decisive factor in the appointment of Teresita Leonardo de Castro as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He said: “Everyone in the civil service, the military, everybody — seniority serves as the conveyor — it will be the same for all justices… all of them are trained. Everyone in the military observes that, no bypassing, no political colors allowed. So merit system.”
By this standard, Lt. Gen. Salvador Bueno Mison, the current AFP vice chief of staff, should be the next AFP chief. Of course, I realize that such an appointment is the prerogative of the President. And I respect that prerogative enjoyed by the Commander in Chief. I also believe that we must all endeavor to provide the President with the necessary information so that, in the exercise of his responsibilities, he would be guided by the principles of justice and fairness.
Lieutenant General Mison is the most senior three-star officer in the AFP. He has been holding the position of AFP vice chief of staff for the last two years, serving under three AFP chiefs, namely Gen. Eduardo Año, now DILG officer in charge; Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, now Marina administrator; and Gen. Carlito Galvez, who is due to retire in a few months. Seniority aside, in terms of service reputation, Mison is one of the finest officers of the AFP. Ask around—he is a no-nonsense disciplinarian with a sense of duty and responsibility that few in the organization can match. He certainly would not have been given three stars if he were a run-of-the-mill type of military officer.
Mison’s only disadvantage — if one could call it a disadvantage—is that he is an Air Force man in an Army-dominated defense establishment with many marching to the same beat. For so many years, even decades, Army leaders have been a decisive factor in our national security efforts. Today, the NPA problem remains the world’s longest-running insurgency. The Abu Sayyaf is still around, although, every now and then, AFP chiefs come out with pronouncements about its impending demise. The Islamic State (IS) is now in the Philippines, and the occupation of Marawi City by IS and Abu Sayyaf fighters was a tragedy brought about mainly by the failure of military intelligence. These are the painful facts, and we must face them squarely.
On another issue: We have too many generals, not only in the Army, but also in the Air Force and the Navy. I am pleased to report that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shares this sentiment. In a recent dinner with the defense chief and the national security adviser hosted by a small circle of retired senior AFP officers, he expressed this same view and said he has moved to correct the situation. Each new general has a cluster of military aides and enlisted men who attend primarily to his needs. These are resources that can be better utilized elsewhere. Too many generals also add to the burden of a pension system that the nation cannot sustain much longer. Finally, the large number of generals has not contributed substantially to a more effective national defense organization.
We have good men in the Air Force and the Navy. The AFP could use their experience and expertise in crafting different courses of action that would benefit the organization. And, lest I forget, we must also give them time to carry out their plans and programs. Otherwise, the revolving door of the AFP will bring us nowhere.
One last word: In the yearbook of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1984, first class cadet Salvador Mison had this to say: “Have the courage to face the truth and be willing to risk failure in order to succeed, for success is achieved and maintained by those who keep trying.” Whatever lies ahead, one can count on General Mison to continue doing his best for the Armed Forces.
Letter from a senior citizen.
“I live in San Fernando, La Union, where you only have a limited choice of quality bakeshops. Since I am a bread-eater, it’s either Red Ribbon or Goldilocks. While Red Ribbon gives discounts to senior citizens, Goldilocks at the CSI Mall does not. I have cautioned the cashier and the manager a few times about this but they just shrugged their shoulders.
“I hope Goldilocks owners in Manila will advise their people here in La Union, particularly at the CSI Mall, to abide by the law. There are a few other Goldilocks outlets here in the city.”
— Art Lomibao, Class 1972.
There are two things that can be done immediately at your end in La Union. First is to report the establishment, Goldilocks, to the Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (Osca). There should be an Osca representative in San Fernando, La Union. And, second, get a good lawyer to file charges against Goldilocks for violation of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. The first violation would result in a fine of not less than P50,000 and imprisonment of not less than two years. The Osca can help in pursuing this course of action.
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