Media executive Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez has been nominated as the new Philippine ambassador to the United States, filling up the post that has been vacant for more than a year, Malacañang announced on Thursday.
“The Palace announces the nomination of Mr. Jose Manuel Del Gallego Romualdez as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America, with concurrent jurisdiction over the Commonwealth of Jamaica, Republic of Haiti, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines and Saint Lucia,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“We are confident that with Mr. Romualdez at the helm of the Philippine embassy at Washington, D.C., will further strengthen Philippine-US relations and promote stronger cooperation between the two countries,” he added.
Duterte had tapped Romualdez, a Philippine Star columnist, to be special envoy to the US in a bid to “reboot” the strained relations between the Philippines and the US.
This was after Duterte’s scathing remarks against then US president Barack Obama over the latter’s expression of concern over reported human rights abuses in relation to the Philippines’ bloody drug war.
Months after assuming power, Duterte declared his military and economic “separation” from the US as part of an “independent foreign policy.”
The President initially tapped Delfin Lorenzana to replace former Ambassador Jose Cuisia, who retired in June last year. Lorenzana declined the US posting and was named Defense secretary instead.
Duterte later said he would name Malacañang’s protocol chief Marciano Paynor to the post, but Paynor’s appointment did not push through.