By Raissa Robles
At least four politically-appointed ambassadors abroad don’t mention Noynoy Aquino is the new Philippine president on the official embassy websites.
In fact, at the Philippine embassy websites in Athens and Madrid, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who appointed them, is still the Philippine president.
Look at the Philippine embassy in Athens website. There is no mention at all of Noynoy Aquino. In fact on its front page this is what you see –
Recall that Noynoy Aquino was proclaimed by Congress as the winning president on June 9, 2010. June 12, the annual celebration of our Independence Day, is a pretty big affair for all our embassies abroad.
Our envoy in Greece, Rigoberto Tiglao, is a former journalist. [Full disclosure: actually, we were together in Business Day newspaper and I had looked up to him.] It would therefore be reasonable for me to assume he knows what’s placed on his embassy website.
A story on the June 12 celebration he and his wife Getsy hosted makes no mention at all of Benigno Aquino III as the new Philippine president.
In fact, what you see is this:
There is absolutely no mention at all of PNoy who assumed the presidency starting July 1, 2010.
This is very strange indeed.
Especially because Tiglao’s appointment was among those extended by President Benigno Aquino III for three more months.
Ellen Tordesillas wrote on her blog and column that Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo had sent an assignment order to Ambassador to Greece Rigoberto Tiglao dated July 2 about the “President’s approval of your extension as AEP to Greece in a holdover capacity for a period of three months effective noon of 30 June 2010.”(AEP stands for Ambassador Estraordinary, Plenipotentiary.)
I find this extension of Tiglao’s tenure quite funny because Tiglao has not even acknowledged President Noy TO THIS DAY, AS I WRITE THIS BLOG ENTRY, as the new Philippine President on the embassy website.
PNoy has also recently defended his own retention of Alberto Romulo as the foreign secretary. It was Romulo who recommended that most Arroyo political ambassador-appointees be retained to ease the transition.
Imagine my surprise when I clicked on some of the websites maintained by the embassies where the political appointees were retained and extended for three more months. Didn’t Romulo at least give them marching orders to trumpet on the World Wide Web that we just held elections, that we have a new president and they have a new boss?
Apparently not, if you judge by these websites.
Philippine Embasy in Athens website
Here is the story that the Athens website released on their June 12 celebration. There is no mention of Noynoy Aquino. It’s now July:
Philippine Embassy in Madrid website
You’d think this website is a homage to a noble senora, not to a sovereign country. That imperious looking lady is Gloria Arroyo’s political appointee, Ana Ines de Sequera-Ugarte, whom Romulo backed for extension. The Philippine Star newspaper named her as one of those who had resisted the recall to her home country.
And no wonder, because in Spain, her hand gets kissed by no less than the King of Spain.
You know what the latest Philippine news is on the Madrid website? Look below:
So you wonder, why would Ambassador Ugarte’s presence be greatly missed in Madred if she does not seem to be doing much anyway?
Philippine Embassy in Riyadh website
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Antonio P. Villamor made mention of an impending overseas absentee voting, but is apallingly silent on the results. He has not acknowledged the winner of the elections and yet he wants to stay on
When the Riyadh Embassy celebrated June 12 Independence Day – remember that Noynoy was proclaimed June 9 – there was absolutely no mention of him as the new President.
I mean, is it too much to ask an ambassador to at least announce to the host country the election of a new President who happens to be his new boss?
Philippine Embassy in Australia
Our Canberra embassy did the same. Here’s is it top story – the ASEM meeting, not the election of President Noy:
Maybe, I thought, its Independence Day celebration made mention of Noynoy Aquino.
Nope. It didn’t. Worse, these two paragraphs seem to rub it in and wish for Arroyo:
From reading this, I can only conclude that His Excellency Hernandez De Leon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to Australia, does not recognize PNoy as his boss.
Now some of you might say it’s unfair of me to conclude this by just looking at the websites.
Here’s my proof that it’s not.
Two political-appointed envoys – Domingo Siazon (Tokyo) and Delia Albert (Berlin) – have returned to Manila. But before they did, they managed to put up something on the websites of their posting that would indicate to the host nations that we had a change of government.
Philippine Embassy in Berlin
The Berlin Embassy website even posted a list of the new cabinet members of President Noy. Perhaps Delia Albert had nothing to do with this. Perhaps this was the doing of the career officers whom Romulo did not seem to trust much to do the right thing. I don’t know. At least all of Germany knows we have a new president with a new cabinet.
Philippine Embassy in Tokyo
In his Independence Day speech, Domingo Siazon personally announced the proclamation of Noynoy Aquino as the new President and Jejomar Binay as the new Vice President.
What disruption of diplomatic relations would happen if political appointees are recalled? Every embassy has a number two officer. They are usually career officers. They become charges d’affaires in the absence of an ambassador. The Vienna convention that governs diplomatic relations recognizes that role of CDAs.
Philippine Embassy in Washington website
Ellen is right.
Look at the Philippine Embassy in Washington website. The Ambassador there is Willy Gaa, a career diplomat.
Here’s the front page of their website which clearly shows that President Noy is the new Philippine President.
From these examples, I can only conclude that the extended political appointees are even causing much harm to the new Aquino government by their refusal to acknowledge PNoy’s presidency and by sowing confusion as to who is the incumbent Philippine President.
And the incumbent Foreign Secretary Romulo does not seem to trust the career service officers to do the job.