DEPUTY Presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said the search committee in Malacañang is now contemplating the possible replacement of the late general Jaime Echeverria of the Zenarosa Commission, who died of heart complications Saturday.
Olivar said they were saddened by the untimely death of Echeverria, a retired general of the military and president of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (Agfo) and director of the Armed Forces and Police Savings Association Inc. (AFPSLAI).
For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter
“We are sympathizing, extending our condolence to the family and friends of General Echeverria. He has an illustrious career in the military and his latest assignment as a member of the Zenarosa Commission was a fitting climax to his career because it put him in the middle of our current efforts to restore lasting peace in our country by taking decisive steps against the age old problem of private armies,” he said in an interview by Radyo ng Bayan.
Olivar said a shortlist for Echeverria’s replacement is now being reviewed and submitted to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The President initially created seven-man Zenarosa Commission on December 8 following the November 23 Maguindanao massacre where 57 people where killed, mostly journalists.
The other members of the commission are: Bishop Juan de Dios M. Pueblos, Mahmod L. Adilao of the Ulama League of the Philippines, Dante L. Jimenez of the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption, Ret. Police Director General Virtus V. Gil, and kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas president Herman Basbaño.
Basbano, who confirmed Echeverria’s death, said his fellow commisisoner died at a time when the Commission was stepping up its action plans to address the problem of private armies in the Philippines.
During the last meeting of the Commisison, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported that there are at least 117 private armies in the country with around 5,000 members.
Of the 117 private army groups, 25 are said to be the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). (JMR/Sunnex)