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Ex-defense chief of Erap named new RP envoy to China

June 18, 2008 6:09pm
MANILA, Philippines - President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has appointed former senator Orlando Mercado as the new Philippine ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Wednesday.

Ermita said Mercado will also have concurrent jurisdiction over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Mongolia.

Mercado was the defense secretary of deposed President Joseph Estrada but he, along with then Armed Forces chief and now Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, withdrew his support to the administration at the height of the Edsa People Power 2. Their action signaled the end of the Estrada administration.

Mercado was a product of the public school system having earned his elementary and high school diplomas from the Celedonio Salvador Elementary School and the Manuel A. Roxas High School, respectively, and his degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and later, Master of Arts in Communication from the University of the Philippines.

He also earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from UP, which he finished when he was already a senator.

He had also worked as radio-TV announcer of the Republic Broadcasting System before landing a job as a police reporter for ABS-CBN and later as head of the Radyo Patrol radio program from 1969 to 1971, after he was detained and charged with violation of the Anti-Subversion Law during the Martial law period.

He was released in November 1973 and then joined GMA-7 News as a reporter where he later co-produced and host the "Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko" since 1975.

Mercado first entered politics in 1984 after being elected to the first Regular Batasang Pambansa as an opposition Member of Parliament in Quezon City.

In 1986, Mercado was named chairman of the National Parks and Development Committee, which has jurisdiction over Rizal Park (Luneta), but ran and won as senator in 1987. He was re-elected for second term in 1992.

Also appointed were Finance undersecretary and acting treasurer Roberto Tan as the new Treasurer and head of the Bureau of Treasury, replacing Omar Cruz who resigned in April last year. Lawyer Ma Victoria Cardona, meanwhile, was named as new commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights.

Ermita said President Arroyo also reappointed election commissioner Moslemen Macarambon after he had been bypassed by the Commission on Appointments.

Ad interim appointments are also expected for Civil Service Commission chief Ricardo Saludo and Reyes, who were likewise bypassed by the CA.

He said the President also formally named Georgina Yu as the chairman and administrator of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone and Merly Cruz as undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry. - GMANews.TV
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