Duterte names journalist as ambassador to China

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte has named Jose Santiago "Chito" Santa Romana, a journalist who worked in Beijing for decades, as the Philippines' new ambassador to China.

Santa Romana, former Beijing bureau chief of ABC News, will have concurrent jurisdiction over North Korea and Mongolia.

Duterte nominated Santa Romana as envoy to China on September 28, the Commission on Appointments (CA) said.

Recently, Santa Romana joined former president Fidel V. Ramos in "icebreaker" talks with Chinese representatives in Hong Kong, upon Duterte's instructions.

Santa Romana's nomination comes as the Philippines seeks formal talks with China regarding the two countries' dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

At the same time, the President also named Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose as Philippine ambassador to Malaysia.  

Jose was also nominated on September 28.

Jose has served as DFA spokesman since March 2014. Before this, he was Philippine consul general in Shanghai, China.

Along with Jose and Santa Romana, Duterte also recently nominated the following ambassadors:

Duterte's nominees will later have to be screened by the CA. Then, they will have to be accepted by their receiving states before they formally begin their work. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.