Bongbong reappoints 2nd cousin Philippine ambassador to the U.S.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. with
Jose Manuel ‘Babe’ Romualdez at Malacanang Palace. Photo: RTVM

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has reappointed his second cousin, Jose Manuel ‘Babe’  Romualdez as Philippine Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States.

He has concurrent jurisdiction over the Commonwealth of Jamaica, Republic of Haiti, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines and Saint Lucia.

Romualdez, 74, who was appointed ambassador to the U.S. in July 2017 by then-president Rodrigo Duterte, has been asked to stay on by the new president to continue the work he has been doing in Washington, D.C. 

Last year, Romualdez was conferred the Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Datu, Gold Distinction in recognition of his efforts in strengthening the long-standing comprehensive and thriving ties between the Philippines and the US. The Order of Sikatuna is an order of diplomatic merit conferred upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Republic of the Philippines.

Just recently, the U.S.-Philippines Society also honored the diplomat with the Carlos P. Romulo Award for his “superior diplomatic service” and for being “a tireless and effective advocate for deepening strategic and economic engagement between the Philippines and the United States.”

His family lived in Queens in the 1960s. Philippine Embassy photo

Romualdez is the son of Alberto Romualdez Sr. and Covadonga del Gallego, a former chair of the Pathology Department of the University of Santo Tomas Hospital. After his father, a doctor, was elected to the World Medical Association, the family moved to New York City, where the Secretariat was based until 1974. He studied at Forest Hills High School from 1965 to 1966, according to Wikipedia and worked as a “part-time waiter in Manhattan and as a grocery-boy at an A&P supermarket in Queens.”

He returned to the Philippines and finished college at De La Salle College. He found a job as a TV newscaster and became a network executive. His media connection grew when he became a columnist of the Philippine Star and a publisher of People Asia magazine.

While he was largely credited for the return of the Balangiga bells to the Philippines, the decision of the Philippine Embassy to celebrate the country’s Independence Day at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. became controversial. The hotel is one of the Trump businesses being cited in lawsuits filed by District of Columbia and the state of Maryland as a violation of the Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting a sitting president from accepting payments from foreign governments.  

Romualdez defended his decision. He writes in his Philippine Star column: “The Trump hotel may have some political undertones because it is associated with the U.S. president, but since several other embassies have also held their national day celebrations at the Trump hotel which were well attended – I decided – why not do it there, too… I felt that an elegant and historic venue like the Trump hotel, which was originally the Old Post Office building along Pennsylvania Avenue, would be perfect for the occasion.”

The Philippine Embassy said the United States is the country’s biggest trading partner, the second biggest market for its exports and the third largest investor in the country.

(C) The FilAm 2022



One Comment

  1. Blondell S. wrote:

    Interesting info.

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