Senior diplomat takes charge of Foreign Affairs

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MALACAÑANG has named Undersecretary Enrique Manalo as acting head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, replacing Perfecto Yasay Jr., whose appointment was thumbed down by the Commission on Appointments (CA), Malacañang announced on Thursday.

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“He will hold the position until the President appoints a new Secretary. [Undersecretary] Manalo is an excellent transition man and has been on top of many crucial issues together with Atty. Perfecto Yasay,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Manalo is the department’s undersecretary for policy. He had served as Philippine ambassador to the United Kingdom, deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, and ambassador to Belgium.

He was also assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Washington as first secretary and consul.

Manalo, 64, obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of the Philippines.
The powerful CA on Wednesday rejected Yasay’s appointment after lawmakers questioned his previous American citizenship and passport. Yasay, a lawyer, was the first Duterte Cabinet appointee to be rejected by the appointments body.

Duterte had said he would give the position to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, his running mate in the May 2016 polls, after the one-year ban on the appointment of losing candidates to government posts.

Manalo is the son of the late ambassador Armando Manalo, a journalist and former Philippine envoy to Belgium and political adviser of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations. His mother is Ambassador Rosario Manalo, the first female career diplomat of the Department of Foreign Affairs who was recently elected by acclamation as rapporteur of the 23-member Committee of Experts of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

WITH A REPORT FROM JAIME R. PILAPIL

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