Bautista is new AFP chief

Posted at 01/15/13 5:55 PM

MANILA - Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista will replace retiring Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa on Sunday.

Malacanang announced Bautista's appointment today.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Emmanuel Bautista -- Army Chief Public Affairs

"We thank outgoing AFP Chief of Staff Dellosa for having served the country and our uniformed personnel with exemplary dedication and commitment. We look forward to the stint of the incoming AFP Chief of Staff in continuing the reforms set in motion by the President and implemented by his predecessors in advancing the interests of our soldiers and the enhancement of the defense capabilities of our country," Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

A son of a decorated soldier who died rallying for peace, Bautista wants to end internal conflict by 2016.

His father, Brigadier General Teodulfo Bautista, lost his life in the hands of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) even if he had then come bearing gifts of peace.

Lured into talks for a ceasefire, he and 34 other colleagues went to face MNLF rebels unarmed.

The senior Bautista was killed during a peace mission in the infamous October 10, 1977 massacre in Sulu. They were ruthlessly gunned down by the rebels led by Usman Sali.

The Army chief was only 19 then. “I went straight to Villamor Airbase to receive his remains…it only motivated me to finish [my training and studies at the Philippine Military Academy].”

Avenging his father’s death lurked in his mind, but it was the legacy of peace that shrouded his career until today.

“I had to complete the legacy of my father…He gave up his life to pursue the agenda for peace…I remember him saying, we’re all Filipino brothers, we don’t have to kill each other,” he said.

Bautista is married to Bernardita Pardo, daughter of former Supreme Court Justice Bernardo Pardo.