List of AFP chief contenders sent to Duterte

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    DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has furnished President Duterte a list of senior military officials for the post of ninth Armed Forces chief under the Duterte administration.
    Gen. Gilbert Gapay is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on February 4.

    Lorenzana did not say when the list was submitted and how many names are in the list.
    “It’s an open race yet. Maybe next week we will know,” he said.

    Gapay is bowing out of the service after serving as AFP chief for six months. Gapay, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1986, was Army chief prior to his assumption as AFP chief in August last year.

    A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Army chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, of the PMA Class 1987, is among the front-runners. Sobejana is due for retirement in August this year. He is a recipient of the Medal of Valor, the highest military decoration in combat, “for acts of conspicuous courage, gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty” during a firefight with about 150 Abu Sayyaf men in Isabela City in Basilan in 1995.