By Jennifer P. Rendon
A native of Bacolod City is set to assume as acting commander of the Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade based in Dingle, Iloilo.
Colonel Michael Samson, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1991, will formally sit as acting 301st brigade commander on February 7.
He will replace Brigadier General Marion Sison who had been designated as assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division on January 27.
Samson, the deputy commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Camp Gerona, Murcia, Negros Occidental, was designated as acting 303rd IB commander on Dec. 27, 2022, following the retirement of Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte.
But on Jan 31, Samson was moved to the deputy commander post following the assumption of Colonel Orlando Edralin as full-time 303rd IB commander.
Incidentally, Edralin was the deputy commander of the 301st IB prior to his assumption as 303rd IB commander.
Lieutenant General Benedict Arevalo, Visayas Command (VisCom) and concurrent 3rd ID commander, said that the 301st IB post is not yet in the bag for Samson.
“Colonel Samson is one of the stronger candidates. Hopefully, he gets it,” he said.
Arevalo explained that Samson’s appointment has already passed through the Philippine Army Board of Senior Officers but since the brigade commander post is a prelude to the appointment to brigadier general, it will also go through the AFP Board of Generals before it would be recommended to the Secretary of National Defense and the President, who is the appointing authority.
“I’m not privy to the recommenders of the Board of Generals,” Arevalo said.
Meanwhile, with Samson pulled as 303rd deputy brigade commander, two brigades are without deputy commanders.
At the level of the Board of Senior Officers, a deputy brigade commander can be decided on.
“We now have a wider selection. Hindi lang dito within the 3rd ID. But those who are assigned and previously assigned here have the plus factor. May edge na ang nandito although, again, it’s not a guarantee,” Arevalo said.
Even the officer who will eventually replace him as 3rd ID commander is being debated.
The two main contenders, though, are Sison and Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, 302nd IB commander.