Finally, Duterte names PH ambassador to US
After a vacancy of more than one year, Malacañang on Thursday nominated a new Philippine ambassador to the United States.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said President Duterte had tapped Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez as Manila’s new envoy to Washington, more than a year after the post was vacated by former central bank governor Jose Cuisia Jr. in June.
“The Palace announces the nomination of Mr. Jose Manuel Del Gallego Romualdez as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America,” Abella said.
“We are confident that with Mr. Romualdez at the helm of the Philippine embassy at Washington, D.C., will further strengthen PH-US relations and promote stronger cooperation between the two countries,” he added.
Abella said Romualdez would also serve concurrently as the Philippine representative to Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines and Saint Lucia.
Mr. Duterte has had a rocky relationship with the United States since becoming President last year, especially after the Obama administration publicly criticized his bloody war on drugs.
Since coming to power, Mr. Duterte had also tried to steer the Philippines closer to China and away from the United States, its traditional ally.
In February, the President even threatened not to send an ambassador to the United States.
“In the US, we have no ambassador. No ambassador will go there… I do not feel like sending one,” Mr. Duterte said.
He had previously considered Romualdez and Malacañang protocol chief Ambassador Marciano Paynor for the post but Romualdez declined due to health reasons while Paynor had to help in the preparation for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings in the Philippines this year.
The Philippines and the United States have a mutual defense treaty while there are an estimated 3.4 million Filipinos in the US, including more than 300,000 illegals.
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