November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Ex-Senate president, ex-House speaker lead new Palace appointments

MALACAĂ‘ANG on Wednesday announced the appointment of former senator Edgardo J. Angara as special envoy of the President to the European Union (EU) as well as 47 other newly-appointed government officials by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in April and May.

A list of presidential appointees released by the Palace showed that Mr. Angara was assigned to the diplomatic post on May 3 -- the same date Dante A. Ang, chairman emeritus of newspaper Manila Times, was appointed “special envoy for International Public Affairs.”

Mr. Angara, who also served as Senate president in his many years in Congress, was also chairman of the Philippine National Bank from 1998 to 1999. He bagged Spain’s Premio Casa Asia award in 2010 for his efforts to rekindle the Philippines’ historic ties with Spain and Mexico.

Mr. Angara’s appointment coincides with the EU’s review of its trade incentives for the Philippines, which require the country to comply with 27 international conventions on human and labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance.

Mr. Duterte railed against the EU almost as soon as he took office on June 30 last year, after the bloc started raising concerns over the new government’s bloody anti-drug campaign.

In March, EU overtook the United States and Japan as being the largest destination of exports from the Philippines, according to data from the Philippines Statistics Authority.

Meanwhile, Malacañang yesterday also clarified that former House of Representatives Speaker Jose C. de Venecia, Jr. was appointed Mr. Duterte’s “special envoy for APEC,” and not as special envoy for “intercultural dialogue” as announced last week.

The President also appointed former Davao Occidental judge Renato D. Bermejo as administrator of the Land Registration Authority (LRA), an agency attached to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Also given a new job was former Philippine National Police (PNP) Davao regional chief Vicente D. Danao, Jr., whom the President appointed commander of the National Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Other individuals whose appointments were recently announced by the Palace include Margaux “Mocha” J. Uson, who is now a member of Malacañang’s communications team, and Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, whose appointment as Foreign Affairs Secretary was confirmed on Wednesday, May 17.