Cirilito Sobejana

President Rodrigo Duterte has named Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana as the next chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacañang announced Wednesday.

Sobejana will succeed incumbent AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Feb. 4.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque confirmed Sobejana’s appointment in a statement.

“We are confident that General Sobejana will continue to modernize our military and undertake reform initiatives to make the Armed Forces truly professional in its mandate as the protector of the people and the State,” Roque said.

Sobejana is a Medal of Valor recipient and a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang” Class of 1987.

“We wish General Sobejana all the best in his new tour of duty as we pray for his success,” Roque added.

Sobejana will be the 55th AFP chief. He will reach the mandatory retirement age on July 31. John Ezekiel J. Hirro