Philippine envoy to US Romualdez clarifies he will remain serving as ambassador

Philippine envoy to US Romualdez clarifies he will remain serving as ambassador
This file photo shows Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez
Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez will not be the country’s next secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs as he would still be the country’s envoy to its treaty ally.

Romualdez himself dispelled rumors that he would be the country’s next top diplomat while on CNN Philippines’ “The Source” on Thursday.

“I’ve been told that so many times, sometimes, I’m beginning to believe it, but to be very honest about it… President-elect Marcos and I had a meeting and he told me that he was very pleased with how effective I have been in Washington DC,” Romualdez said.

“He told me that he would like me to continue what I’ve been doing in Washington, with the relationship that we’ve been able to establish there.”

There have been talks that Romualdez would be the next DFA secretary as his cousin, Marcos Jr., is taking his time to form his Cabinet. However, Romualdez said he is happy to retain his post as a Philippine ambassador based in Washington.

READ: Slow pace of forming Marcos economic team prolongs investor anxiety 

Marcos Jr. has been proclaimed president-elect by Congress, garnering a record majority vote of over 31 million for the country’s top post, but even the partial and unofficial tally had shown him leading with a margin of over 16 million. 

US President Joe Biden already extended his congratulations to Marcos Jr. two weeks ago through a phone call. 

And while it remains unclear how Marcos Jr. would foster a relationship with the US as chief diplomat, considering a contempt order issued by the District Court of Hawaii in 1995 when he did not cooperate to compensate victims of late despot Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s martial law era, Romualdez said Marcos Jr. is well-equipped to handle the country’s relationship with the US.

“He spent quite a bit of time in the United States so he’s quite westernized in that sense,” he said. To recall, Marcos Jr. and his family were in exile in Hawaii from 1986 to 1991 after the People Power revolution.

Meanwhile, Romualdez said that the country’s current agreements and treaties with the US would be maintained. He floated the idea that the Visiting Forces Agreement might be revisited for improvement to ensure that it is “mutually beneficial for both our countries.”



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