Empredad named new Navy chief
Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad was formally appointed as the new Flag Officer in Command (FOIC) of the Philippine Navy.
The appointment paper dated January 16, 2018 noted that his designation as the new FOIC of the Philippine Navy was “approved effective December 19, 2017.”
Empedrad, the former deputy chief of staff for Retirees and Reservists Affairs assumed as acting FOIC of the Philippine Navy when Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado was relieved from his post on December 19, 2017.
The Philippine Navy has no comment about Empredad's appointment, saying they are waiting for instruction from higher headquarters.
“I’ve seen it (referring to the letter released by Malacanang), but we have to wait for the official communications coming from the higher headquarters to ensure that the order is authentic,” Capt. Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy spokesman, said in a text message.
Mercado was relieved from his post in relation to the issues surrounding the frigate acquisition project of the Philippine Navy.
In a phone patch interview last Wednesday, Mercado confirmed he is on floating status while preparing for possible investigation about the issues on the frigate acquisition project.
“I’m still a full blooded Navy officer because I’m (on) floating (status) I’m with the office of staff right now. I’m fine right now…” he said.
“Those (filing of early retirement) are options available to me but I’m yet thinking about it because I’m more concerned with preparing for possible investigation if there is one,” he added.
Mercado refused to discuss details about issues on the acquisition project but he admitted that he was hurt because he was relieved.
“I’m a military officer. I obey orders, I know the secretary of national defense, he has some justification for doing it, so i respect it,” Mercado said.
“Off course I was hurt, I’m the flag officer in command and then I was relieved but that’s it. As i said, I’ve been a soldier in my life, and even at times when I was a leader I make those decisions,” Mercado added. Robina Asido/DMS