Axed Navy chief ‘lost my trust and confidence’ – Lorenzana
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed on Wednesday that his loss of trust and confidence on the leadership of Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado pushed him to fire the navy official.
“I have lost my trust and confidence in his integrity and leadership. I questioned his intention behind his fixation with this specific company for the combat management system (CMS) for the frigate acquisition,” he told reporters in a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo.
Mercado was replaced by Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad, the deputy chief of staff for reserve and retirees affairs, in a sudden, unannounced turnover ceremony on Tuesday. A change-of-command ceremony is usually open to the public.
“Sa program natin, it says na ang mamimili ng CMS is the builder which is Hyundai. Ngayon, Mercado wants to bring in another company na hindi kasama sa kontrata..Nagbabalikan ang mga directives…I issued two directives which he disregarded. To me that is tantamount to insubordination,” he said.
The Philippine government signed a P16-billion contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2016.
Lorenzana claimed that Mercado insisted on his preferred CMS and even went around “forum shopping” to meet former Navy chiefs. He also talked of rescinding the contract.
“In social media it’s being painted out that the department is the one hindering the project and he is not doing to correct the misperception,” the defense chief said.
“Our team involved is na-alarma na. Four months ng delayed [ang program],” he added. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.