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New Air Force chief warns against ‘immorality’

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 12:55pm (Mla time) 01/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) The incoming commander of the Philippine Air Force warned his men against committing “immorality,” a day before assuming his post.

Lieutenant General Pedrito Cadungog said airmen who gambled, were unfaithful to their wives, and abused their authority would face penalties — from confinement to dishonorable discharge from the service.

“I am not forgiving when it comes to abuse of authority. This is my warning to our airmen,” Cadungog said in a phone interview.

cadungog.jpg

“Immorality is punishable by dishonorable discharge from the service.

This includes gambling, going to casinos and cockpit arenas,” he said, adding soldiers should serve as “good examples.”

Cadungog said he has received reports of married Air Force men courting women while on field assignment.

Cadungog will take over as PAF commanding general from Lieutenant General Horacio Tolentino in ceremonies at the Villamor Airbase on Friday afternoon.

The incoming PAF chief said he would continue the programs set under the Philippine Defense Reform (PDR) program during his term. He will retire on January 11 next year when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.

“I will continue the projects on the pipeline. This includes doctrine development, increasing the proficiency of our pilots, acquiring new equipment and improving existing equipment. There is nothing much you can do in one year except to pursue the programs,” he said.

These include the procurement of six night-capable attack helicopters and six light utility helicopters before the end of the year, for which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had allotted P5 billion.

Not later than the second quarter, the PAF will also acquire 10 reconditioned UH-1H or Huey helicopters, to add to its current fleet of UH-1H choppers, Cadungog said.

The Huey, which was used during the Vietnam War, is the PAF’s workhorse, having been used in combat and rescue missions.

However, the Huey has gained notoriety for its involvement in air accidents. The latest crash was in Rizal province last December 14 that left two pilots hurt, he said.

Before the year ends, the PAF will also acquire eight T-41 trainer planes from the US, and the first batch of 18 Italian-made SF-260 Marchetti trainer planes, he said.

“We are investing a lot. This is all under the PDR,” said Cadungog, who had served as chief of the Presidential Airlift Wing under Arroyo in 2003.

A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1975, Cadungog beat Major General Enrique Insierto, an alumnus of PMA’s 1974 class, the PAF vice commander, for the top post in the Air Force.

Insierto will replace Cadungog as AFP deputy chief of staff, said Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, military spokesman, who announced Cadungog’s appointment as PAF chief earlier on Thursday.

Tolentino bowed out of the service ahead of his scheduled retirement in February to give Cadungog and Insierto a crack at his post, since the two contenders would have had less than a year in active Service had he retired in February.

Senior officers must have at least one year left in the active service before they are appointed as commander of any of three major services in the AFP — the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Speculations are rife that Cadungog’s appointment was a political accommodation and has stirred the ranks.

Cadungog laughed off the reports, but refused to defend himself, saying it would be “self serving.”

Two middle-grade PAF officers, who requested anonymity, likewise denied the reports.

“I’m not sure whose feathers were ruffled. I guess in a selection such as this, one cannot satisfy everybody. Lieutenant General Cadungog is well qualified for the position,” the first officer said in a text message.

“That’s not true. He [Cadungog] should have been CG [commanding general] before Tolentino,” the second officer said.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2008-01-03T06:52:06+00:00UTC01bUTCThu, 03 Jan 2008 06:52:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am01

Posted in Uncategorized

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