CA confirms Romualdez’s, Lagdameo’s nomination; suspends its deliberation on Manalo’s

by Ricky Rillera

Jose Manuel Romualdez (L), Antonio Manuel Lagdameo, Enrique Manalo | PDM File Photos

NEW YORK – The Commission on Appointments (CA) has confirmed the nominations of Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez as Philippine Ambassador to the United States and Antonio Manuel Lagdameo as permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York.

The CA’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Senator Jinggoy Estrada and with members of the bicameral commission, met on Aug. 31 and conducted the confirmation hearings.

Romualdez has been serving as the Philippine Ambassador to the US since 2017. On the other hand, prior to his appointment, Lagdameo served as the country’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

“These confirmation hearings are good for those of us who have to go through the process because we will have an idea about the issues that our legislators are concerned with based on the questions they ask,” wrote Romualdez in his recent column. “I shared that my marching orders from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. are to increase economic activities between the Philippines and the US. The pandemic has really upended the global economy, and he believes that the US can play a major role in our efforts to economically recover from the impact of the pandemic by having more investments come our way.”

On December 2021, former President Rodrigo Duterte conferred a top honor to the Philippines’ envoy to the US with the Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Datu, and Gold Distinction.

As Philippine envoy, Romualdez was recognized for further deepening “the Philippines-US alliance through enhanced defense and security cooperation, particularly in maritime security and the upgrading of Philippine defense capabilities; for promoting trade and investment resulting in the recent entry into the Philippines of US-based SBA Communications, thereby advancing the development of the country’s telecommunications technology backbone.”

In June this year, the US-Philippine Society (USPS) also honored Romualdez with the prestigious Carlos P. Romulo award for his “superior diplomatic service as Philippine envoy in Washington and unflagging support for the US-Philippines Society.” He was particularly cited for how he “engages interlocutors with frankness, clarity, and the facts, a style that reflects his journalism prowess, credibility, and keen diplomatic skills” in carrying out his mission.

He is concurrently the Philippines emissary to the Commonwealth of Jamaica, Republic of Haiti; the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Dominica; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Saint Lucia.

Lagdameo recalled that he had been facing the CA to be confirmed for all his international assignments in the last 15 years. He is the father of Anton Lagdameo, a former Davao del Norte representative, and now Special Assistant to the President.

“It is always a distinct pleasure and honor to be able to face all of you and to at least show that we are still willing to serve and help our country in whatever way we can,” he told Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

Lagdameo has been Ambassador to the United Kingdom since March 2017. He had previously served in the same capacity from 2009 to 2010. He was Ambassador of the Philippines to Spain with concurrent jurisdiction over the Principality of Andorra from August 2008 to July 2009, and as the Ambassador of the Philippines to the United Mexican States, with concurrent jurisdiction over Belize, the Republic of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama from January 2007 to August 2008.

Teodoro Locsin, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs, is slated to succeed Lagdameo as the next Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

Meanwhile, due to time constraints, the CA suspended the deliberations on former Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Enrique Manalo’s nomination as Secretary of Foreign Affairs. According to GMA News Online, legislators brought up issues affecting passport issuance during the hearing. The report also cited Senator Imee Marcos Manalo’s failure to attend the Senate foreign relations committee’s organizational hearing and the delay in the submission of the DFA’s position on some issues such as the Visiting Forces Agreement, Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

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