By Judy Flores Partlow
Col. Manuel Luis Ochotorena, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Negros Oriental, has directed his officers and men to stay focused in accomplishing their mission to fight insurgency in the province.
“With the turn of events, we cannot afford to fall into complacency as we have the people of Negros Oriental to serve and protect,” said Ochotorena as many Filipinos woke up Tuesday morning to the shocking news of the passing away of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Angelo Reyes.
Media reports say Reyes, who was involved in a scandal involving billions of pesos of government funds, sustained a single gunshot wound on his chest and died at a hospital in Metro Manila.
Investigators are looking at the possibility that Reyes had shot himself after visiting the grave of his mother at the Loyola Heights Memorial in Quezon City.
The issue at hand surrounding the AFP is a welcome development for us, said Ochotorena.
“We will always support the investigation of the competent authorities and if those charged are found guilty they should take the consequences of their actions,” he added.
Ochotorena, in behalf of the men and women of the 302nd Brigade, the 11th Infantry Battalion and the 79th IB all based in Negros Oriental, extended their deepest sympathy to the bereaved family of Reyes, who also held various Cabinet positions after his retirement from the AFP.
On a personal note, Ochotorena said he was shocked when he learned of the death of Reyes, recalling the brief time he had served alongside the latter in the early ’90s in Mindanao.
Reyes, then a colonel, was the battalion commander of the 4th IB of the Philippine Army while Ochotorena was a captain working under him.
He (Reyes) was a strict person, very particular with timelines at work but also approachable. He was dedicated in the performance of his duties and very professional in his dealings with different stakeholders in Baganian Peninsula in Zamboanga Del Sur, Ochotorena added. (PNA) scs/LAP/JFP