West Philippine Sea commander among 15 newly promoted officers

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
West Philippine Sea commander among 15 newly promoted officers
Local fisherfolk place the symbolic buoys with markings “WPS Atin ito!” on the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone before pushing to the Bajo de Masinloc during the second civilian resupply mission to the West Philippine Sea on May 15, 2024.
STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The commander of the country’s military forces in the West Philippine Sea heads the list of 15 newly promoted generals and senior naval officers whose papers have been forwarded by Malacañang to the congressional Commission on Appointments (CA) for confirmation hearings.

“The CA has received the appointment papers of Philippine Navy Rear Admiral Alfonso Torres Jr., who has been promoted to the rank of vice admiral,” Rep. Johnny Pimentel, who sits as assistant minority leader in the bicameral body, said.

Torres heads the military’s unified Western Command that oversees the WPS. The command is based in Camp General Artemio Ricarte in Puerto Princesa City.

The rank of vice admiral, or three stars, is equivalent to lieutenant general in the other armed services.

“We have also received the papers of Philippine Army Maj. Gen. Fernando Reyeg, who has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general,” Pimentel, a second district congressman from Surigao del Sur, said. Reyeg heads the military’s unified Visayas Command based in Cebu City.

For promotion to the rank of major general and awaiting CA confirmation are Pedro Balisi Jr., Dennis Estrella and Jimmy Larida.

For promotion to the rank of rear admiral are Joe Anthony Orbe, Francisco Tagamolila Jr. and Roy Vincent Trinidad.

Also awaiting CA confirmation as commodore are Felipe Bautista, Diosdado Caluya Jr., Constancio Arturo Reyes Jr. and Vincent Sibala.

For promotion to brigadier general are Romulus Joseph Canieso, Roy Anthony Derilo and Roman Dioso.

“Formal complaints against any of the appointees awaiting confirmation hearings may be filed by concerned citizens with the CA secretariat,” Pimentel said.

In March, the CA rejected an Army colonel’s promotion to the rank of brigadier general after his estranged wife put up a challenge on the grounds of alleged physical abuse, adultery and neglect in providing financial support to their children.

The Constitution empowers the 25-member CA to vet the competence, fitness and integrity of key presidential appointees, including senior military officers from the rank of colonel, and to approve or reject them.

The CA is composed of 12 members each from the House of Representatives and the Senate, with the Senate President as ex officio presiding officer.


Meanwhile, retired generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have lauded the heroic and professional conduct of the Philippine Navy personnel in the face of Chinese attack during the June 17 rotation and resupply mission for troops on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

“In spite of escalatory actions of China seagoing elements in West Philippine Sea, our navy personnel exercised extreme caution and unequalled patience to successfully complete their mission amidst undue harassment and risk physical harm,” the Association of General and Flag Officers (AGFO) said in a statement.

A sailor prevented China Coast Guard (CCG) personnel from carting away vital Navy equipment, including individual weapons.

AGFO said the unwarranted actions of the CCG violated numerous United Nations protocols, and could be considered piratical, escalatory and unchivalrous.

“AGFO supports and trusts the government stand to assert our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea and exhorts the Armed Forces of the Philippines in protecting and taking care of our frontline troops,” AGFO added.

On Sunday, President Marcos bestowed awards on uniformed personnel involved in the June 17 incident for their bravery and dedication. — Pia Lee-Brago

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