By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte appointed former House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. as Special Envoy of the President to Japan for Trade and Market Access.
Belmonte was included in the list of presidential appointees released to the media Wednesday. While his official appointment paper has yet to be released, the document given to reporters said he was named Special Envoy on October 15.
The former House Speaker joined President Duterte’s two-day official visit to Tokyo, Japan in 2017. He was also part of Duterte’s delegation when he visited New Delhi in January 2018.
Malacañang earlier explained that Belmonte joining Duterte’s overseas trips only proved that the President was not after political rivals.
“Mataas po ang respeto ni Presidente kay Speaker Belmonte. Nagsama po sila noong 11th Congress (The President has high respects for Speaker Belmonte. They’ve both been part of the 11th Congress),” former Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in 2018.
“Pero naniniwala po ako na patunay ito na ang Presidente po (But I believe that this is proof that the President) is not engaged in a political witch-hunt,” he added.
“Kung totoo po ‘yan, bakit namin palaging kasama ang isang leading stalwart ng Liberal Party na si Speaker Belmonte. Hindi po totoo ‘yan (If that was true, then why would be bring along the leading stalwart of the Liberal Party? There’s no truth to that),” he continued.
Another appointee named in the list given to the media was Golda Margareth Argel as a member of the board of directors of UCPB General Insurance Company, Inc. She was appointed to the position on September 17.
Joel Abutal was named commodore of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) at the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on October 10.
William Dar and Wendel Avisado were named ad-interim secretaries at the departments of Agriculture and of Budget and Management, respectively on October 11.
On October 15, Pedro Miguel Santos was appointed Director III at the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and Jaime Cruz was named Special Envoy of the President to the People’s Republic of China for Trade and Investments.