Yano, the first and only Mindanaoan so far to hold that plum post, is set to retire on June 13 after more than 37 years in military service – including his cadet years at the Philippine Military Academy.
He will turn over his post to current Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado, a ‘mistah’ in the PMA 1976 Magilas class.
He will also be leaving behind a military establishment trying to shed off its image as one that serves the ruling elite and one that protects its own – even the worst of human rights violators.
To his credit also, no major destabilization moves occurred from among the ranks of the AFP during his tenure as commanding general of the Philippine Army and as AFP chief of staff.
Yano, whose name means ‘simple’ in Visayan, acknowledged that the task of reforming the AFP and defeating all shades of insurgency is still undone.
But he hastened to add that the “task is institutional” never a personal crusade.
“It won’t end. Whoever takes over,” he said.
It was likewise an implied admission on his part that the target of wiping out the communist insurgency by 2010 will not be achieved.
He, however, earlier said that the communist movement will be reduced to irrelevance by then.
One of the top ranking officers of the AFP who earned the reputation of being a soldier’s soldier, Yano wants a quiet life after his military stint.
He dismissed the idea of him running for a Senate seat in 2010.
“Gabugal-bugal man tingali ka (You are kidding me),” he said laughing.
He comes clean and untainted and one of the few officers that is well-respected even among those who participated in past putsch attempts against the Arroyo administration.
Given a choice, however, close friends of the general said Yano would rather prefer to have a foreign posting after he retires from the military.
It is a choice, he nevertheless said, that is not for him to make.
“Depende (It depends on the president). It is not automatic,” he said.
Meanwhile, Yano said he will begin his farewell tour and promised to visit friends and offer them some drinks when he finally fades from military service he once was tempted to go against as a near recruit of the First Quarter Storm before he enlisted in the PMA. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews contributor)