Duterte names new Navy chief

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Rear Adm. Robert Empedrad as the new chief of the Philippine Navy.

In a letter dated January 16, Duterte informed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that Empedrad’s appointment was approved effective December 19, 2017.

Empedrad replaced Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado who was fired by Lorenzana for “insubordination.”

The relief reportedly stemmed from a “conflict” between the Navy and Department of National Defense (DND) regarding over the Navy’s Frigate Acquisition Program.


Empedrad, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1986, was a commander of the Fleet’s Offshore Combat Force and concurrent project manager of the frigate program.

He also served as AFP deputy chief of staff for retirees and reservist affairs. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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