PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has appointed a military commander assigned on Luzon island to head the Armed Forces, the presidential palace said on Monday.
Medal of Valor awardee Bartolome Vicente O. Bacarro, who heads the Southern Luzon Command, will serve as Armed Forces chief of staff for three years starting Aug. 8, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a statement.
He will replace Andres C. Centino, an appointee of ex-President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Mr. Marcos also named Rodolfo S. Azurin, Jr. as national police chief, Ms. Angeles said in a separate statement.
She added that Mr. Centino, a classmate of Mr. Bacarro in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1988, will be appointed to a new post “befitting a former chief of staff.”
Mr. Bacarro was assigned to an infantry division in Isabela province in northern Philippines after finishing his military education, exposing him to counterinsurgency operations in the province from 1988 to 1995.
It was during his Isabela assignment that he earned his Medal of Valor, the highest award for soldiers in combat, Ms. Angeles said.
The award was given to him on Dec. 21, 1991 for his “conspicuous acts of courage, gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty,” she said, citing a 10-hour encounter between the military and more than a hundred New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in an Isabela town on Feb. 26, 1991.
Mr. Bacarro was designated army spokesman in November 2004. He later became a spokesman for the Armed Forces.
In 2014, he was designated chief of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division. He also served as the chief of staff for operations, commander of the 502nd Brigade, commandant of the PMA and an Armed Forces internal auditor.
It was under his watch that a young PMA cadet died from hazing, which forced him to resign as PMA commandant.
Mr. Azurin, the new PNP chief, graduated from the PMA in 1989.
He is the commander of the Northern Luzon Police Area composed of the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
“Azurin is a well-rounded police officer, having served the Philippine National Police in various capacities, both in police operations and administrative work,” Ms. Angeles said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Marcos appointed lawyer and long-time National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Assistant Director Medardo G. de Lemos as the bureau director.
“Director de Lemos rose from the ranks and his appointment as NBI Director is a strong indication of President Marcos’ commitment in strengthening the system of ‘meritocracy’ in the promotion, placement and hiring of government personnel,” Ms. Angeles said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza