Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/04/09MANILA834.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA834
2009-04-20 09:42
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000834

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/20/2019
TAGS: MOPS PGOV PINR PREL PTER RP
SUBJECT: NEW ARMED FORCES CHIEF NAMED

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a move lauded by senior military officers
and commentators, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on April
15 named Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado as the next Chief
of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). He
will replace General Alexander Yano, who will retire on June
¶13. Lt. Gen. Ibrado’s selection over the more controversial
Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, who served as the head of President
Arroyo’s Security Group and the military’s intelligence
service, lends credibility to statements by senior government
officials that promotion to the upper echelons of the
Philippine military would continue to be based on
professional criteria, rather than politics. Amid
speculation whether Ibrado’s tenure might extend beyond the
end of the Arroyo administration, some anti-Arroyo pundits
suggested that President Arroyo would prefer a general loyal
to her as AFP Chief as a means of decreasing her
vulnerability to facing prosecution after she steps down as
president. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (U) Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved
the designation of Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado as next
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on
April 15. He will replace the current Chief of Staff,
General Alexander Yano, who will retire on June 13.
Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro
announced the appointment of Ibrado, as well as the
appointment of Lieutenant General Delfin Bangit as the next
commander of the Philippine Army. Ibrado was a classmate of
General Yano and Philippine National Police Chief Director
General Jesus Verzosa in the Philippine Military Academy
(PMA) class of 1976; Bangit was a 1978 PMA graduate.

NO REVOLVING DOOR
—————–

¶3. (U) Commenting on the appointment of Ibrado, Malacanang
Palace emphasized that Ibrado’s selection to succeed General
Yano as Chief of Staff is not a return to the “revolving
door” policy of the past, when appointments to the position
were given to as many senior military officers as possible,
resulting in shortened tours of duty. Malacanang also said
the timing of the announcement was made to ensure both Ibrado
and Yano could prepare for a smooth transition. General
Ibrado thanked President Arroyo for selecting him to occupy
such a “sensitive position,” and said he would continue the
military’s current program to upgrade its capabilities and
enhance its readiness. Ambassador called Ibrado to
congratulate him on his appointment. Ibrado, who recently
hosted Ambassador for coffee, said he was honored to be
chosen and looked forward to continuing the good mil-mil
relations between our countries.

ASSUAGING UNHAPPY BRASS
———————–

¶4. (C) In the leadup to the announcement of Ibrado’s
appointment, there were reports of senior Philippine military
officers voicing concern regarding the possible promotion of
junior members of the Philippine military into high level
positions over more senior PMA classmates. The designation
of Ibrado, who is currently the Commanding General of the
Philippine Army, appears to have assuaged such concerns.
While there has been scattered speculation among senior
officials that Ibrado might be extended beyond President
Arroyo’s term, anti-administration political observers have
also suggested that President Arroyo would prefer to have a
senior officer loyal to her as chief of the armed forces as a
way of decreasing the chances that she might face prosecution
after she ends her term as president.

¶5. (U) Prior to his present position as Commanding General
of the Philippine Army, Ibrado was the commander of the
Philippine Armed Forces Central Command. He has also served
as Commanding General of the Philippine Army Special
Operations Command, and Chief of Staff of the 3rd Infantry
Division. Lt. Gen. Ibrado is a graduate of the Philippine
military’s Special Forces Operations Course, Ranger School,
Airborne School, and the Infantry Officers Advanced Course at
Fort Benning, Georgia. He is the recipient of the Philippine
Legion of Honor (Degree of Commander), five Distinguished
Service Stars, two Outstanding Achievement medals, and five

MANILA 00000834 002 OF 002

Bronze Cross medals. Lt. Gen. Ibrado is married to Dolores
Clarion-Ibrado and has three children. Ibrado is well-known
to the Ambassador and Embassy staff. He is personable,
out-going, and popular with the rank and file.

COMMENT
——-

¶6. (C) President Arroyo’s selection of Ibrado over Bangit for
the AFP’s top post bodes well for the future of the
U.S.-Philippine military relationship. While Bangit has been
controversial — allegations suggest he handed out money to
subordinates as armed forces intelligence chief — Ibrado is
a personable, engaging individual who clearly understands the
importance of our bilateral military relationship. He is an
advocate for human rights and the rule of law and has
reinforced at all levels of the military the need to remain
apolitical. A highly regarded general officer, Ibrado
understands the importance of civil military operations and
sees them as a key piece to sustaining peace and stability.
As a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry Officers Advanced
Course in Georgia, Ibrado has significant familiarity with
U.S. military forces and operations and is an avid promoter
of continued training between our two armed forces. The
Mission has thus far enjoyed an excellent relationship with
him and all indications are that it will continue to do so.

KENNEY

   

 

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