Outgoing Air Force chief not sacked, gave way for junior officers – AFP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday denied rumors that Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar Jr. was fired.

AFP public affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato said, Kintanar – who was supposed to retire in January 2020 – stepped down so junior officers could climb up the ladder.

"It was an internal matter between officers... Nag-give way na siya (He gave way) because there are some junior officers who (have) to go up kasi mauubusan na rin ng time (because they're running out of time)," Detoyato said in a press briefing, describing the AFP as a "very dynamic and professional organization."

He dismissed claims by MaxDefense, a group of local defense enthusiasts, that Kintanar was relieved for opposing Malacañang's choice of type of helicopters to be acquired under the AFP's modernization program.

"We take it as their opinion. At the end of the day there will be 1,000 opinions but it is still their own personal opinion," Detoyato said.

The group likened Kintanar's fate to that of Former Navy Flag-Officer-In-Command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, who was dismissed in December 2017 for supposed insubordination that resulted in the delay of a controversial multi-billion peso frigate deal.

Detoyato said he could not describe as "fake news" MaxDefense's public Facebook post because "that is the truth that they knew."

Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez will replace Kintanar, according to appointment papers obtained by CNN Philippines Wednesday.

Detoyato described Briguez as "very intellectual and soft-spoken." Briguez became head of the AFP Western Command in 2017, a post he also took over from Kintanar when the outgoing Air Force Chief  was appointed to his post in October of the same year.