(Editor's Note: This story reflects a clarification from Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, the military spokesman, that Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana will be the third Medal of Valor awardee to become chief of staff)
(UPDATE) The Armed Forces of the Philippines will soon be led a Medal of Valor Awardee, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Malacanang said Wednesday.
Sobejana, currently the commanding general of the Philippine Army, will replace Gen. Gilbert Gapay, who is retiring on Feb. 4. He is the third recipient of the military's highest honor to also serve as chief of staff.
The Medal of Valor is the military's highest honor, given only to 41 individuals since the 1930s. It is reserved for the bravest of the brave and is recipients are revered in the military. Protocol dictates that if the recipient wears his medal, the president of the country must salute him.
Sobejana representes that "finest in soldiery," said Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, the Armed Forces spokesman. "He is known to his superiors, peers, and subordinates as a warrior with the heart of a peacemaker," Arevalo said.
“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,"Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Sobejana is part of the Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang” Class of 1987. He is classmates with another Medal of Valor receipient, Maj. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, currently the AFP adjutant-general.
Prior to becoming Army chief, Sobejana was commander of the Western Mindanao Command.