Duterte approves appointment of new Navy chief

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President Rodrigo Duterte officially appointed Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad as the Flag-Officer-in-Command of Philippine Navy.

“I wish to inform you that, per your letter-endorsement and in accordance with the recommendation of the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Chairman, AFP Board of Generals, pursuant to Republic Act No. 8166, as amended by Republic Act No. 9188, the designation of REAR ADMIRAL ROBERT A. EMPEDRAD 0-9514 ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, as Commander, Flag-Officer-in-Command, Philippine Navy, is hereby approved effective Dec. 19, 2017,” President Duterte said in letter sent to Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Empedrad is replacing relieved Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado.

Secretary Lorenzana said he Mercado was relieved for “loss of confidence in his integrity and leadership.”

Mercado was also relieved for his questionable “fixation with a specific company for the combat management system (CMS) for the acquisition of frigates,” Lorenzana said.