Año, veteran intelligence officer, is new Army chief

MANILA, Philippines – The military's former top spy, Major General Eduardo Año, is the new chief of the Philippine Army, two high-ranking sources in Camp Aguinaldo told Rappler.

He is replacing Lieutenant General Hernando Iriberri who assumed as chief of staff of the 120,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines last week.

The change of command ceremony will be held on Wednesday, July 15, at the Army headquarters Fort Bonifacio in Taguig. President Benigno Aquino III will lead the ceremony.

Iriberri and Año are mistahs (classmates) in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1983.

Año was the chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP) before he became commander of the Davao-based 10th Infantry Division, which is responsible for the remaining strongholds of the communist New People's Army (NPA). 

He was ISAFP chief when the military arrested in February 2014 alleged NPA leaders Benito Tiamzon and wife Wilma.

He was 10th ID commander in charge of Army troops in Eastern Mindanao when Leoncio Pitao, better known as Commander Parago, was killed in a clash in Paquibato City in Davao City.

The military said these incidents have significantly weakened the communist movement.

Año's record is tainted by allegations of human rights violations, however. 

He was accused of being behind the disapperance of activist Jonas Burgos, son of the late press freedom icon Jose Burgos.

Año was cleared from the charges filed by Edita Burgos, which the leftist Karapatan human rights group believed was “a form of whitewash” on the case.

Since 2014 to present, with Año as commander of the 10th Infantry Division in Eastern Mindanao, Karapatan said it has documented military abuses such as extrajudicial killings, disappearances, illegal arrests, torture, and forced evacuation of civilians. – Rappler.com