President Rodrigo Duterte has reappointed media executive Jose Manuel Romualdez as special envoy to the United States, Malacañang said on Monday.
“The Palace announces the re-appointment of Mr. Jose Manuel Romualdez as special envoy of the President to the United States. We are confident that the re-appointment of Mr. Romualdez will usher in better Philippines-US relations and promote stronger cooperation between the two countries,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
It was earlier reported that Romualdez turned down the post in December last year because of eye problems.
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, Duterte said he would name Malacañang’s protocol chief Marciano Paynor to the post but Paynor’s appointment did not push through.
Ties between the Philippines and the US were strained during the administration of President Barack Obama, who expressed concern over 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 Duterte earlier said he believed he would get along well with US President Donald Trump, who has expressed support for his anti-narcotics campaign.