Philippine Army commanding general appointed as next AFP Chief
The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) revolving door will once again turn and usher in a new “head butcher” with the appointment of Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay as the next AFP chief of staff. Gapay will replace outgoing chief Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. who will retire on August 3. Gapay is a staunch defender of legally-challenged and unpopular Anti-Terrorism Law.
Gapay will serve the post for only six months until February 2021. The AFP is known to favor its top brass retiring generals with ranking positions even for a short period of time, thus, the revolving door concept.
“Gapay rose to the ranks of the Philippine Army and will soon be at the helm of the state’s top terrorist organization — the AFP — which is responsible and highly-accountable for the unending reign of terror, militarization, and state-sponsored human rights abuses the countryside and rural villages,” according to KMP leader Danilo Ramos.
“Gapay’s rise to the AFP heirarchy is paved with the blood of all those killed by Philippine Army soldiers and death squads under his command. Farmers regard him as a notorious mercenary and enemy of the masses.”
Ramos noted from January 1 to June 30 this year, there have been almost 25,000 victims of state-sponsored human rights violations or an estimate of 136 victims each day. For the first half of the year, on average, there have been 106 victims of political killings or at least two cases of political killings every week. These spate of abuses can be attributed to the government’s Executive Order No. 70, Memorandum Order No. 32 in Negros, Samar and Bicol, and the heightened militarization campaign across the country that targets peasant communities and government critics.
“These political killings and abuses were carried out by state forces under the pretext of counterinsurgency and in pursuit of the New People’s Army. However, majority of the victims were unarmed civilians — farmers, indigenous people, community leaders, and village officials. Philippine Army units are known for staging ‘fake encounters’ that often lead to the killings, and even massacre of farmers,” Ramos added.
Gapay was a graduate of PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986. Prior to his appointment as Philippine Army chief last December 2019, he served as the commander of the equally notorious Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) and deputy commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom). He is credited as among the first to establish regional counterparts of the NTF-ELCAC. He also led the Philippine Army’s Mechanized Infantry Division based in Lanao del Sur. In the 1990s, he initiated the so-called “Bayanihan Operations Concept” of counterinsurgency.
Incumbent Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief Lt. Gen Cirilito Sobejana will elevate as the next chief of the mercenary Philippine Army. ###