PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Palace protocol chief Marciano Paynor as ambassador of the Philippines to the United States.
“Yes. He’s a seasoned foreign [service]career employee. He is good,” the President replied when asked by reporters during a Palace event Monday night if Paynor had accepted the appointment.
Paynor, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1971, had served as chief protocol officer to Presidents Fidel Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Paynor left the military as lieutenant colonel in 1983 and became a market analyst at the Philippine Trade Office in Chicago and later, consul general to San Francisco.
He had also served in diplomatic posts in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Budapest and Rome, as well as Gabon, Israel and Cyprus.
Paynor will replace Jose Cuisia, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Robert Borje, the second secretary to the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations, will take over Paynor’s Palace post.
The President initially offered the US post to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
“He did not accept it. He said he is already too old. He wanted to stay here [in the Philippines],” the President told reporters.
Duterte expects Paynor to explain to the US government his intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
Last week, US State Department spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen expressed concern over extrajudicial killings of individuals linked to illegal drugs in the Philippines.
In reaction, President Duterte said: “They (US) go on with their human rights violations, and I go with mine.”