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Duterte not keen on naming envoy to US

/ 04:41 AM February 03, 2017
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reiterates his campaign to weed out corrupt officers and operatives in the Philippine National Police (PNP) in his speech during the 38th National Convention of the Philippine Association of Water Districts at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City on February 2, 2017. JOEY FRANCIS DALUMPINES/Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reiterates his campaign to weed out corrupt officers and operatives in the Philippine National Police (PNP) in his speech during the 38th National Convention of the Philippine Association of Water Districts at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City on February 2, 2017. JOEY FRANCIS DALUMPINES/Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte is not keen on naming a new Philippine ambassador to the United States amid evolving ties between the two countries.

“In the US, we don’t have an ambassador. No ambassador is going there. As long as we don’t have an ambassador to the States, I don’t feel like sending one,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech in Davao City on Thursday.

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He offered no explanation.

The President initially tapped Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to replace former Ambassador Jose Cuisia, who retired in June last year. When Lorenzana declined the US posting, Mr. Duterte said he would name Malacañang’s protocol chief Marciano Paynor to the post.

Paynor’s appointment did not push through, though, and so newspaper columnist Jose Manuel Romualdez was eyed for the position. But Romualdez also turned down the post because of eye problems.

Ties between the Philippines and the United States had been strained during the administration of President Barack Obama, who had expressed concern over Mr. Duterte’s drug war that had been accompanied by the deaths of thousands of drug suspects.

But there are expectations that the relationship between the two countries would improve, as Mr. Duterte earlier said he believed he would get along with US President Donald Trump, who expressed support for his antinarcotics campaign.

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TAGS: Barack Obama, Delfin Lorenzana, Donald Trump, Jose Cuisia, Jose Manuel Romualdez, Marciano Paynor, Philippine ambassador to the US, Rodrigo Duterte, US-Philippines relations
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