Philippine Army

Sobejana is next Army chief

Rambo Talabong
Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana is set to replace Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay, who has been named Armed Forces chief

Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana is the next chief of the Philippine Army, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed to Rappler on Wednesday, July 29.

Si Sobejana (It’s Sobejana),” Lorenzana said in a reply to Rappler’s question about who the next Army chief would be.

Sobejana is set to succeed Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay, who will be the next chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after the incumbent, General Felimon Santos Jr, retires first week of August. (READ: Gilbert Gapay is next AFP chief)

A 1987 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, Sobejana is scheduled to retire in August 2021.

Since June 2019, Sobejana has been leading the military’s forces in Western Mindanao, the bailiwick of terror groups. (READ: Battle-scarred Philippine general leads military command fighting terrorists)

Before this, he led the 6th Infantry Division in Central Mindanao in 2018, and the Joint Task Force Sulu in 2017, where he helped prevent Abu Sayyaf fighters from joining the Marawi siege.

Sobejana was awarded the Medal of Valor, the Philippines’ highest military honor for courage, over the 1995 heavy gun encounter in Basilan with Abu Sayyaf Group founding leader Abdurajak Janjalani and his men. – with a report from Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.