Ex-Wescom chief’s key staff also replaced

Ex-Wescom chief’s key staff also replaced

/ 05:36 AM May 30, 2024

Ex-Wescom chief’s key staff also replaced

Former Wescom commander, Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos —photo from Wescom AFP FB page

MANILA, Philippines — Some of the key staff of the military’s Western Command (Wescom) were simultaneously relieved from their posts this week following the replacement of their former commander, Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos, the Inquirer learned on Wednesday.

Simple ceremonies were held on Monday and Tuesday in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province, for the turnover of the chief of unified command staff, the assistant chiefs of unified command staff for intelligence, operations, plans and programs, and financial management, according to officials privy to the leadership changes but were not authorized to speak to the media.


READ: Axed Wescom chief: No secret deal in phone call with Chinese diplomat


Navy Capt. Mateo Carido replaced Air Force Col. Gerald Naldoza as chief of unified command staff; Navy Capt. Oliver Obongen succeeded Cmdr. Mark Francisco as assistant chief of UCS (ACUCS) for intelligence; Navy Capt. Flitzerald Cañete replaced Capt. Brix Dumanig as ACUCS for operations; Navy Capt. Ariel Nicomedes Torres replaced Cmdr. Antonio Bosch as ACUCS for plans and programs; while Cmdr. Michael Anthony Ubaldo replaced Cmdr. Roderick Gemino as ACUCS for financial management. The former staff were already given new assignments.

The ACUCS for logistics; communications, electronics and information systems service; civil military operations; education and training; and reservist affairs were also set to be replaced, the sources said.

READ: Ex-Wescom chief Carlos says Chinese diplomat apologized to him

‘New model’

Carlos is at the center of controversy for supposedly agreeing to a “new model” with China over rotation and resupply missions (Rore) to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, which he denied during a recent Senate hearing.

Wescom oversees Palawan province and the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Carlos, who took a personal leave as the controversy broke out, was initially replaced by Rear Adm. Alfonso Torres Jr. in an acting capacity before he was designated as Carlos’ Wescom successor a few days later.


Asked about the key staff changes at Wescom, Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, Philippine Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said he was not yet aware of the supposed developments, but said it was “a usual action of a new commander to choose his own staff.”

“We leave it up to the new commander. He has the freedom to select his own staff,” he told reporters in a press briefing.

Carlos has since been placed under the General Headquarters Support Command under the supervision of the Office of the Chief of Staff after his relief as Wescom commander, AFP spokesperson Col. Francel Margareth Padilla earlier said. The move was neither a punishment nor a demotion, she said.

Phone call

During a Senate hearing last week, Carlos admitted speaking on the phone with a Chinese Embassy’s military attaché early this year but denied entering into any secret deals that would “redefine” Philippine foreign policy and “compromise” the national interest in the West Philippine Sea.

He also claimed that he had no knowledge that the conversation was being recorded.

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The Chinese Embassy earlier distributed copies of a transcript of a part of the alleged tapped phone conversation in which Carlos supposedly said that his superiors had agreed to the deal to transport only food, water and humanitarian supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre.

TAGS: AFP Wescom, Alberto Carlos, Wescom

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