MANILA, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino has designated Special Operations Command (Socom) chief Maj. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, a military hero against leftist rebels, as the new Army chief, replacing Reynaldo Mapagu who will become the deputy chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Ortiz is the most senior military officer in the active service conferred with the Medal of Valor, the highest military decoration for bravery and gallantry in combat. The new Army chief was conferred the Medal of Valor by Aquino's mother, former President Corazon Aquino, for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty."
The designation of Ortiz and Mapagu were contained in the second wave of designations in the Armed Forces made by Aquino, also the AFP's commander-in-chief, since assuming the presidency on June 30.
Mapagu will replace Maj. Gen. Hilario Atendido, who had been designated acting AFP vice chief in addition to his job as AFP deputy chief of staff for education and training since Nestor Ochoa opted for early retirement effective Monday.
Ochoa, who is reaching the retirement age of 56 in December, is reportedly being offered an ambassadorial post.
The new order of Aquino also designated Special Forces Regiment commander Roberto Morales as Ortiz's replacement as Socom chief. Morales will be replaced by Aminkadra Undog, who is detailed with the Intelligence Service of the AFP (Isafp)
Meanwhile, Army inspector general Rolito Abad was designated as the AFP's internal auditor.
In a statement, AFP chief Ricardo David said,"These appointments have the approval of the President, and are natural parts of growth and dynamism of the military organization, just like any other organization."