Rear Admiral Alfonso Torres Jr., commander of Western Command (WESCOM), was promoted to the rank of three-star admiral during a solemn donning of ranks ceremony held on June 27 at the General Headquarters.

Joining him in receiving promotions were Marine Major General Jimmy Larida, appointed as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3; Commodore Constancio Arturo Reyes Jr., now deputy commander for External Defense Operations at WESCOM; and Brigadier General Roman Dioso, assuming the role of deputy commander for Internal Defense Operations, also at Wescom.

Addressing the newly promoted generals and flag officers, AFP Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr. underscored the enhanced responsibilities and expectations associated with higher military ranks.

“Be reminded that you are now entrusted with the well-being of your subordinates and the success of our mission, especially in the West Philippine Sea, in support of our territorial defense operations while upholding our core values of honor, service, and patriotism,” said Brawner.

Torres took over from Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, whose abrupt departure from Wescom sparked controversy and surprise.

It was Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. who confirmed Torres’ designation as Wescom chief during his command visit on May 16.

The defense secretary said it is the prerogative of the AFP leadership to make such changes at any command in the country.

“That’s an administrative decision of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. There’s a leadership change not only here but in other [area] commands,” Teodoro explained.