AFP halts probe on PSG’s unauthorized COVID-19 vaccination

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 5, 2021   •   323

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday (January 5) withdrew the investigation on the Presidential Security Group’s (PSG) use of unregistered COVID-19 vaccines.

The said fact-finding investigation was scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgardo Arevalo said they will no longer push through with the fact-finding investigation after President Rodrigo Duterte defended his closed-in security during his public address on Monday evening (January 4).

Duterte called on Congress not to ‘tinker’ with the PSG and not to force his soldiers to testify against their will.

“AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay has called-off the scheduled fact-finding investigation today on the vaccination of some PSG personnel. This comes in the light of the recent pronouncement of the Commander-in-Chief and President Rodrigo Duterte,” the AFP said in a statement.

Several of the PSG personnel were vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine last September 2020. Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously confirmed the said vaccines used were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). AAC

Suspected gunrunner killed in Maguindanao ops – AFP WesMinCom

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

An alleged gunrunner died after resisting state troops in an operation in Barangay Sambulawan in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom).

In a statement, AFP WesMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said the operation, jointly conducted by police and military units, was launched against Marcos Manungal for alleged violation of Republic Act 10591, the act providing for a comprehensive law in firearms and ammunition and providing penalties for violations thereof.

“The target sensed the presence of and immediately fired upon the government forces thereby resulting in an exchange of fires which caused the instantaneous death of Manungal,” the WesMinCom said.

While clearing the area, the government forces recovered one shotgun, one BAR with four magazines, four 12-gauge live ammunition, 50 live ammunition for Cal. 30, 35 N1 Garand Clip, nine magazines for Carbine, twelve empty shells for Cal. 50, three ammunition boxes, and one green pouch.

The body of Manungal was turned over to his family, authorities said.

4 arrested for illegal possession of firearms in Maguindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

Four individuals were apprehended by state forces in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao for illegal possession of firearms, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) said.

In a statement, the AFP-WesMinCom identified the suspects as Mike Guipal Badrudin, Nadia Kero, Arbaiya Bangkong Mustapha, and Ali Ebrahim Ebrahim.

The military said the four arrested persons were cohorts of Jaybee Mastura alias Abu Naim who was the target of the operation jointly conducted by the AFP and the Philippine National Police.

The operating team was supposed to serve a search warrant against Mastura for violation of Republic Act 9516, or “an Act further amending the provisions of Presidential Decree no. 1866, as amended, entitled codifying the laws on illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition or explosives or instruments used in the manufacture of firearms, ammunition or explosives, and imposing stiffer penalties for certain violations thereof, and other relevant purposes.”

While the operating troops moved to the target house, the suspect managed to escape and evade arrest. His cohorts, however, were nabbed by authorities.

Seized from their possession were two Winchester M14 rifles, one Elisco M16 rifle, one Cal. 45 pistol with magazine, one BRB423 Fragmentation Grenade, 30 rounds of 5.56 ammunition, three rounds of .45 ammunition, one M14 magazine, one M16 magazine, two magazine pouches, and one Samsung A20 box.

Joint Task Force Central Commander Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy said the military will continue to support the law enforcement operations of the PNP.

“The Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry Division will never cease to support the joint law enforcement operations to lessen the presence of lawless armed groups in our area of operation. I also would like to commend the troops for the successful operations today,” Uy added.

The apprehended personalities and confiscated items were brought to the CIDG office for filing of appropriate charges and proper disposition, the AFP WesMinCom reported.

WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. said the operation “exemplifies that good interagency collaboration and cooperation is tantamount to the preservation of peace and order in the communities.”

AFP chief Cirilito Sobejana promoted to 4-star general

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

General Cirilito Sobejana

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana on Wednesday officially donned his four-star insignia, several weeks after he was promoted to the AFP’s top post.

The donning of rank ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City was presided by Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary Cesar Yano, on behalf of Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who is currently in isolation due to COVID-19.

A traditional military honor was subsequently accorded to the chief of staff at the AFP general headquarters canopy area. This was attended by his family and the chiefs of the Joint, Personal, and Special Staff of the AFP.

“While these stars firmly resting on my shoulders are a testament to my personal achievements, it is still a strong reminder to everyone that should never be conscious of their positions but should remain humble and thankful, and to always exercise due prudence and diligence in the discharge of their respective duties and responsibilities,” Sobejana said in a statement.

“While these stars firmly resting on my shoulders are a testament to my personal achievements, it is still a strong…

Posted by Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the promotion of Sobejana last April 8 after the Commission on Appointments approved the latter’s nomination to the rank of general on March 24.

Meanwhile, three senior military officers also received their next higher rank in a ceremony held at Silid Lapu-Lapu in GHQ Building on Wednesday afternoon.

Colonel Joel Alejandro Nacnac, Chief of the AFP Human Rights Office; Colonel Edgardo Palma, Chief of the Office of the Special Studies and Strategy Management; and Colonel Erick Escarcha, Chief of AFP Command Center donned their first stars as Brigadier Generals.

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