Lt. Gen. Iriberri is new Armed Forces of the Philippines chief; Facing Graft charges for ₱97.7 million Php Contract

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In his speech during the change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo, Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri said he will pursue a "straight and true" path. - image:CNN Philippines

Lt. Gen. Iriberri is new AFP chief

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri is the new chief of the Armed Forces. He is the 46th to assume the position.

On Friday morning (July 10), Iriberri gave a speech at the change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo where he vowed to follow "the path that is straight and true" — a reference to the Aquino administration's "Tuwid na Daan" campaign against corruption.

In his speech, he also expressed his acceptance of the responsibilities as chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

"Mga mahal kong kababayan, buong pagpapakumbaba ko pong tinatanggap ang hamon at buong puso ko pong gagampanan ang aking katungkulan."

[Translation: My beloved countrymen, I humbly accept the challenges and will wholeheartedly perform my tasks as the AFP chief.]

He also vowed to win and secure peace in the country with his own brand of leadership.

"I only have one principle of leadership. To be a good leader, one must know how to understand people and the situation. To our countrymen, I am all yours to serve."

During the ceremony, President Benigno Aquino III ordered the newly appointed AFP chief to continue the reforms implemented by former AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr.

He also ordered Iriberri to ensure a peaceful and clean elections in 2016.

Gazmin aide

A Surigao del Sur​ native, Iriberri was the former Army chief, and before that, was the chief of the 7th Infantry Division, based in Nueva Ecija.

He was commissioned in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). He was part of the PMA Matikas Class of 1983.

Iriberri served as the Army spokesman in 2000 when Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin was its commanding general. When Gazmin was appointed as the Defense secretary, he served as the cabinet secretary's most senior aide.

Gazmin is believed to be highly influential in military appointments in the Aquino administration.

Graft charges

The new AFP chief, however, is facing graft charges before the Ombudsman for the alleged failure to issue documents involving three contracts worth 97.7 million Php. This resulted in the shelving of contracts won by Joavi Philippines.

The contracts were for ammunition delivery in 2010 and 2012. But Iriberri said he is ready to answer the charges. - CNN Philippines' David Santos  and Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.

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