By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA — Retired Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez is the next head of the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC), President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Thursday.
The President made the announcement during the PAF change of command and retirement ceremony in honor or Briguez held at the PAF Multipurpose Gymnasium in Pasay City.
He, however, did not mention as to when Briguez will assume his new designation at the PNOC-EC.
“Today, we look back at the achievement of Philippine Air Force or PAF under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez. I also congratulated Gen. Briguez for a job well done in his outstanding tour of duty as the commanding general of PAF and for his years of distinguished service,” Duterte said in his speech.
“Now as good as any other time to tell you that from here, he will be heading an office, a critical one, (from which) I fired the (former head) for corruption. Pinalitan ko (The fired official will be replaced) and he (Briguez) is going to head the exploration division of the Philippine National Oil Company,” he added.
It was in Nov. 2019 when Duterte first hinted that he would be appointing another military man to a vacant position at the PNOC. He, however, did not elaborate on his plan at that time.
On Oct. 17, 2019, the President admitted that he had fired PNOC-EC president and chief executive officer Pedro Aquino Jr. for entering into unauthorized and “idiotic” deal with Russian oil giant Rosneft Oil Company.
The PNOC-EC, under Aquino’s supervision, forged an agreement on multilateral cooperation in oil and gas resources with Rosneft and Hong Kong-based firm Pionaire Finance Limited in June 2017.
The deal was signed without the knowledge of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and board members.
Duterte had booted Aquino out of the PNOC-EC due to “loss of confidence.”
Duterte, in his latest speech, was confident that Briguez would exhibit honesty.
“All that I ask is honesty, period,” the Chief Executive said.
Briguez’s new appointment came after Duterte lauded him for the reforms that the former had initiated to improve the capacity and effectiveness of the PAF.
Duterte also thanked Briguez for his “trailblazing” leadership that further enabled the PAF to fulfill its vital role in the “whole-of-nation approach towards achieving security and inclusive development of our country.”
“In fulfilling his mandate, he has pursued reforms that professionalized and raised the morale of our troops, fostered camaraderie with our air forces, and upgraded thereby our fighter planes and airbases, improving the capacity and effectiveness of the PAF,” the President said. (PNA)