Miranda is acting AFP chief
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda assumed his new task as acting chief of the 120,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday, April 22.
Miranda, the AFP vice chief, assumed the designation at the change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo on Friday morning that was keynoted by President Benigno Aquino III.
Miranda takes over the post left by General Hernando Irriberi, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 56 that day. Irriberi assumed command of the AFP less than a year ago.
In his speech, Aquino explained that he is constitutionally barred from appointing a new AFP chief, which is why Miranda is only taking over the AFP in an acting capacity, being the AFP vice chief of staff.
"Ngayon nga po, bagaman hindi na tayo makakapagtalaga ng Chief of Staff dahil sa mga pamantayan ng Saligang Batas, tiwala pa rin tayo na ang papalit kay General Iriberri ay maipagpapatuloy ang maganda niyang nasimulan, sa nalalabing mga buwan ng ating termino. Magiging Acting Chief of Staff si Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, na kilala sa pagiging mapanuri at maparaan bilang strategist at sundalo," he said.
(While I cannot appoint a Chief of Staff because of the constitutional prohibition, I am confident that the successor of General Irriberi will continue the good things that he had started, in the remaining months of my term. Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, who is known as a thorough strategist and soldier, will be the Acting Chief of Staff.)
Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution provides: "Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety."
Miranda, Irriberi's mistah at the PMA Matikas Class of 1983, was former commander of the AFP's Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).
Miranda is a bemedalled Scout Ranger and Paratrooper who was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Star, 4 Distinguished Service Stars, and 4 Gold Cross Medals.
He hails from San Fernando, La Union.
Irriberi is the 6th and last AFP chief to be appointed by Aquino. Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had 11 chiefs of staff in her 9 years in office. (READ: Fixed term for AFP chief: Why it's needed)
In his speech, Miranda acknowledged the challenges faced by the AFP as he took its helm, among them, the conduct of peaceful, orderly, and credible elections on May 9.
The acting AFP chief assumed the command of the military 17 days before the elections.
"Our country is nearing one of its finest moments, national and local elections a few days from now. Your AFP is committed to achieving orderly and peaceful conduct of this coming elections. As oftenlly said, the AFP will remain apolitical and stretch its means to contribute to this end," Miranda said.
He also cited continuing threats to peace in the Southern Philippines, and "disturbances" to freedom of navigation in the country's Exclusive Economic Zone.
"For this time to steer the helm, I thank the President and Commander-in-Chief Benigno Aquino III for his leap of faith in the face of pressing challenges on many fronts," Miranda said.
Miranda also honored his predecessor: "I think there is no more thorough or harder working AFP chief of staff than General Irriberi. I cannot remember anyone who ran faster or sounded better or still looked like Superman until the very last day of his retirement."
Miranda assumed temporary AFP leadership as the Philippines continued to face various external and internal challenges, including the dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria (also known as ISIS, IS, ISIL, or Da'esch). The AFP has downplayed the latter.
Miranda will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on October 8, 2017. – Rappler.com