Tinawag na ‘highly unusual’ ni Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano ang pagkaka-relieve sa puwesto ni Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph S. Mercado bilang Flag Officer-In-Command (FOIC) ng Philippine Navy.
Kahapon ng umaga, Disyembre 19, ay pinalitan si Mercado ni Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad, na siyang umaaktong Deputy Chief of Staff for Retirees and Reservist Affairs ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“The relief is highly unusual and unceremonious in so many counts,” pagkokomento ni Alejano.
Inihayag ng Magdalo solon na may natitira pang tatlong buwan sa serbisyo si Mercado.
Nakatakda itong magretiro sa Marso 18, 2018.
“It is rare that commanders are relieved a few months away from their retirement unless this is due to compelling reasons such as health or that he is accused of committing grave misconduct,” ani Alejano.
Nakaugalian na aniya na ang pagpapalit ng kumander ay tradisyunal na isinasagawa sa headquarters ng kinauukulang yunit at sa pagkakataong ito dapat ay isinagawa ito sa headquarters ng Philippine Navy (PN) sa Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
Kadalasan ay dinadaluhan aniya ng mga bisita, subordinate commanders, troops at maging mga miyembro ng media.
“Furthermore, the event is highlighted by service protocols and ceremonies to give honor to the outgoing commander in recognition of his service to country and dedication to duty. In the case of Mercado, he was relieved without fanfare at the Hall of Flags inside General Hedquarters building with few people in attendance,” paliwanag ni Alejano.
Ang change of command, lalo na ang service commands ay mahalagang kaganapan sa AFP.
“It is a much anticipated event where names of candidates to the position are circulated among officers and enlisted personnel and even floated in the public. This culminates when one of them is chosen by the president of the country. In the case of Mercado, there was no announcement of his relief. The relief was done almost in secret and very unceremonious,” ayon kay Alejano.
Saliwa umano sa ‘timing’ ang pagkaka-relieved sa commander lalo na’t nasa kalagitnaan ng pagdiriwang ng Kapaskuhan at itinaon pa sa bisperas o isang araw bago gunitain ang AFP Day.
“The question is, why? I suspect that this has something to do with the lingering issue of the Navy’s frigate acquisition project. Months ago, I have received information from various sources about anomaly in the ongoing procurement of frigates in the Navy. Accordingly, Mercado stood his ground that proceeding with the procurement of the frigates under the present contract would be disadvantageous both to the Navy, which is the end user and to the Filipino taxpayers. On the other hand, one information states that Mercado is delaying the project,” paliwanag ni Alejano.
Kasalukuyang nangangalap ng impormasyon ang Magdalo Party-list kaugnay sa pagkakaalis sa puwesto ni Mercado.
Mahalagang mabunyag batay kay Alejano ang katotohanan sa likod ng procurement.
Titiyakin ng solon na matatalupan mga anomalya kung mayroon man.
“In view of this, I shall file a resolution requesting the House Committee on National Defense and Security to conduct a hearing on this matter immediately when Congress’ session resumes. This is an important issue considering that this involves around P18 billion of the AFP’s modernization fund,” pagdidiin ni Alejano. (Aries Cano)