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Political envoys told to ‘pack up’ as Duterte ends term in June

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reminded all political ambassadors whose appointments are due to expire on June 30, 2022 to start packing their bags for their eventual return to the Philippines.
duts ambassadors

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reminded all political ambassadors whose appointments are due to expire on June 30, 2022 to start packing their bags for their eventual return to the Philippines.

In a one-page memorandum obtained by Politiko.ph, the DFA told the political appointees-turned heads of posts to “commence necessary preparations for their departure, including arrangements for shipment/travel, lease contracts with lessors for rented official residences, and farewell calls on their Host Country’s officials”.

Under Republic Act 7157 or the Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991, all political appointees are “coterminous” with the appointing power, which in this case is President Rodriugo Duterte, whose six-year term of office will expire at noon of June 30.

The memorandum came as a reminder to political appointees in anticipation of their processing time which may take “longer than usual” due to the prevailing conditions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sources at the department said, “there are probably some who would like to stay on” citing similar “unfair practices” in previous years.

Apart from the political appointees, a senior diplomat who requested anonymity said there are also some former career ambassadors who “transitioned as political officials,” in an apparent reference to former diplomats who are using their political connections to cling to their respective posts.

“Their overstay robs career officers their opportunity and turn to rise up in the career ladder,” the well-respected diplomat said.

Last year, the DFA has issued Assignment Order 389 reminding all political appointees on the need to prepare prior to the expiration of their terms of office.

Among the names mentioned in the first circular were:

Amb. Bienvenido Tejano (Papua New Guinea); Amb. Philippe J. Lhuillier (Spain); Amb. Manuel Antonio Teehankee (World Trade Organization); Amb. Antonio Manuel Lagdameo (United Kingdom); Amb. Shirley Ho Vicario (Nigeria); Akmad A. Sakkam (Jordan); Linglingay Lacanlale (Argentina); Abdulmaid Muin (Timor Leste); Lee Hiong Wee (Indonesia); Mohd. Noordin Pendosina Lomondot (Kuwait); Demetrio Tuason (Mexico); Ramon bagatsing Jr. (India); Enrique Manalo (United Nations, New York); Rodolfo Robles (Canada); Ombra Janal (Czech Republic); Adnan Alonto (Saudi Arabia); Joseph Yap (Singapore); Macairog Alberto (Israel); Jose Laurel V (Japan); Jose Manuel Romualdez (United States); Eduardo Kapunan (Myanmar) and Mario Chan (Brazil).

Of all the political envoys, the 68 year-old Tejano and the 77 year-old Lhuillier had served the longest with 23 and 22 years, respectively.

This development came on the heels of a controversy hounding the department following allegations of sexual misconduct against a senior official who is also reportedly a poltical appointee.

A young Foreign Service Officer (FSO) recently lodged an administrative complaint against the political appointee who reportedly sexually harrassed her while she was assigned in Los Angeles, California.

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