RETIRED military Lieutenant General Edilberto Adan is the newest member of the independent commission against private armies, the commission’s spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Herman Basbaño, commissioner and spokesman of the seven-man team Zenarosa commission created by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to dismantle private armies, said Adan filled up the vacancy left by Jaime Echeverria who died last Saturday due to heart complications.

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Arroyo announced the appointment of Adan during the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) induction recently.

“Zenarosa commission welcomes the appointment of Retired General Edilberto Adas as its new member,” said Basbaño.

Adan is not new in the operation of the commission since he also served as one of its advisers.

He was a former commander of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) command in Mindanao. He also served as deputy chief of staff of the AFP and former superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Presently, Adan is the executive director of the Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces Agreement and board member of Association of Generals and Flag Officers (Agfo), which was chaired by Echevarria.

The Zenarosa Commission was formed last December 8 in light of the election-related Maguindanao carnage that killed 57 people, including journalists and lawyers.

As of latest report, the Zenarosa commission with the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcing bodies has identified 117 private armies with around 5,000 members in the entire country.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) alone reportedly has 25 private armed groups.

The Zenarosa commission has been monitoring the movements and operations of these private armed groups and later takes an action plan to disarm them.

Aside from Adan and Basbaño, other members of the Zenarosa commission are: Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, Mahmod Adilao of the Ulama League of the Philippines, Dante L. Jimenez of the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption, and Retired Police Director General Virtus Gil. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)