Augustus De Villa named acting commander of AFP Health Service Command

Published August 14, 2018, 6:51 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Francis Wakefield

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Surgeon General Brig. Gen. Augustus De Villa has been appointed in an acting capacity as commander of the AFP Health Service Command (HSC).

(image from AFP website)
(image from AFP website)

The swift turnover was done to ensure that the AFP HSC will be able to fully perform its function of overseeing vital medical services and healthcare for soldiers in military hospitals nationwide.

De Villa was previously assigned as chief surgeon of the Philippine Air Force; commanding officer of Basa Airbase Hospital, Fernando Air Base Hospital, and Presidential Security Group Hospital; and command surgeon of Air Education and Training Command.

He replaced Brig. Gen. Edwin Leo Torrelavega who was relieved from his post to give way for the investigations on the alleged anomalies in procurement practices in the AFP Medical Center (AFPMC).

The turnover, held at the AFPMC Auditorium on Tuesday, was presided by no less than AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr.

The change of leadership at the AFP HSC came about after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the relief of Brig. Gen. Torrelavega and Col. Antonio Punzalan, commander of V. Luna Hospital and around 20 others to face court martial proceedings.

Based on the investigation conducted by the military, the officials allegedly undertook anomalous purchases of equipment and engaged in fraudulent transactions, including ghost-purchasing, splitting of contracts to circumvent mandatory bidding processes, and conceiving fictitious suppliers.

In an interview, AFP spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo, said during General Galvez’ speech, he once again promised to institute reforms at the AFP HSC and put people “with proven integrity, of dedication, of competence and management acumen to be able to run the institution”.

Arevalo, at the same time, said that Galvez announced the appointment of other military officials at the AFP HSC.

He said Brig. Gen. Pio Dinoso has been appointed J4 (Logistics Staff), which oversees the logistical procurement, etc. of the AFP Health Services Command and Maj. Gen. Rizalino Limoso as head of the Finance Management Office (FMO).