MANILA, Philippines – Why did his uncle’s long-time aide get a plum diplomatic post? Simple – she asked for it, according to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“[Former Presidential Management Staff chief Naida Angping] came back and said, ‘Maybe I can just do something that I will be able to handle.’ I said, ‘What do you think?’ She said, ‘If you could appoint me to a diplomatic position,’” recalled Marcos in an panel interview with select media on Monday, January 23.
The President was asked about Angping’s surprise appointment as ambassador to Paris, barely a month after she asked for “time off,” citing personal issues.
Angping, a former legislator who represented Manila, was Marcos’ Presidential Management Staff chief from the time he assumed office until early January 2023, when she was nominated to the diplomatic post.
Malacañang did not announce her appointment to France but silently submitted her nomination to the Commission on Appointments in mid-January 2023.
Her exit came amid talk that her husband Harry, himself a former legislator, was caught harassing hotel staff in Bangkok where Marcos was attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. The Palace was silent about this reported incident, with only a senior official saying on background that Harry Angping was not arrested. It was no different with Naida Angping’s appointment as ambassador.
Marcos defended Angping’s new post, citing her experience working as long-time aide to the President’s uncle Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, who was once Philippine ambassador to the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia.
“She has not held formally a diplomatic position but she has been working with the foreign service for years and years and years,” said the President.
Foreign service has apparently been a long-time dream of Angping, who Marcos said, was working on passing the notoriously rigorous Foreign Service Officer (FSO) test.
“That’s what she’s always wanted to do since before. So now we’re going to formalize her wishes,” said Marcos, referring to Angping’s foreign service dreams.
But the allegations against her husband were not the only rumors about Angping in the Palace. According to informed sources, there was discontent over her work ethic since she was said to be away from her office most of the time.
Marcos distanced himself from any speculation over Angping’s personal issues, telling media: “The reasons for it are personal and I don’t think it’s my place to talk about it.”
Angping’s appointment to Paris led to the displacement of Ambassador Junever Mahilum-West, a career diplomat who had only been appointed to the post in October 2021.
The January 23 interview is the first time that Marcos spoke about Angping since her leave and since her appointment to Paris. – with reports from Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler.com