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Mercado named ASEAN envoy

First Posted 16:13:00 03/11/2009

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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has appointed former senator and defense secretary Orlando Mercado as permanent representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The President administered the oath of office to Mercado at the Heroes? Hall in Malacañang on Wednesday.

The former campaign manager of the administration?s senatorial ticket in 2007, Antonio ?Tonypet? Albano, will replace Mercado as president and chief executive officer of state-run television RPN-9, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said.

Mercado?s appointment will not require confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (CA), because he will not serve as envoy to a single country, as in the cases of Ambassadors Hilario Davide Jr. and Manul Teehankee, the country?s permanent representatives to the United Nations (UN) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), respectively, Ermita said.

?Since they are not ambassadors to specific countries, they did not have to go through the CA,? Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said at a media briefing.

But a check by the Philippine Daily Inquirer?s (parent company of INQUIRER.net) research team, however, showed that Davide?s name was submitted to the CA.

Before his appointment as ASEAN envoy, Mercado, also a former defense secretary, headed the government-run Radio Philippines Network Inc.

He will be replaced by Antonio Albano, deputy spokesperson of the administration?s Team Unity in the 2007 elections.

Mercado was initially appointed as ambassador to China, but he was bypassed at the CA.

As defense secretary in 2001, Mercado led a defection of military generals from then president Joseph Estrada, who was besieged with corruption allegations, paving the way for the then vice president Arroyo to take over government.

Christian V. Esguerra, Inquirer

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