By Martin Sadongdong
Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay has been appointed by President Duterte as the next Commanding General of the Philippine Army (PA), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday.
A designation paper dated Dec. 2 from the Office of the President shows that Gapay, the commander of the Southern Luzon Command (SoLCom), was picked by Duterte to lead the 98,000-strong Army, the biggest among the three primary service units of the Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP).
Gapay will replace Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Friday, Dec. 6.
Gapay is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sinagtala” Class of 1986. He graduated at the top of his class.
Prior to leading the SoLCom, he served as deputy commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), based in Davao City; commander of Joint Task Force Haribon which secured Davao City and the rest of Davao region, and spokesperson of martial law implementation in Mindanao.
He also commanded the Mechanized Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.
Earlier, AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said that five generals were recommended by the Board of Generals to Duterte to be the next Army Chief.