AFP's new spokesperson is former liaison officer with US military

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has a new spokesperson.

In a statement Saturday, November 29, AFP said that military chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr approved the designation of Colonel Restituto Padilla Jr, a Philippine Air Force (PAF) officer and a former Philippine liaison to the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) in Hawaii.

Padilla, currently assistant deputy chief of staff for Civil-Military Operations, J7, will be replacing retiring Major General Domingo Tutaan Jr in a ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday, December 4.

Tutuan has been spokesperson for the military since May 2013.

Padilla has just finished serving as liaison to USPACOM and was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal last October 14 for his "extraordinary planning and execution of 4 MDB-SEB meetings, engagements and tireless efforts leading to the doubling of combined operations, actions, and activities planned and conducted in the Philippines."

He assumes the post as spokesperson at a time when the Philippines and US are hoping to immediately implement the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, the new deal that allows the US military to construct facilities and preposition assets inside Philippine military bases. The pact's constitutionality is being questioned before the Supreme Court, with the Philippine government defending it on November 25.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sandiwa” Class of 1985, Padilla completed military and civilian training in the Philippines and abroad.

The Cagayan de Oro City native has years of experience as a spokesperson. He was PAF’s public information chief in 2006 and its Secretary of Air Staff the following year. He also served as AFP Secretary Joint Staff in 2010.

Aside from numerous military awards, Padilla is also a recipient of the EDSA Revolution Badge in 1987, and the Presidential Citation Badge and Election Duty Badge after the 2010 elections. – Rappler.com