Retired army general replaces controversial PH ambassador to Brazil

Retired Philippine Army Major Gen. Mario Fontanilla Chan is the new Philippine ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil.

Retired Army Major Gen. Mario Chan (right) takes his oath as the new Philippine ambassador-designate to Brazil before Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Brigido Dulay at the DFA main office in Pasay City on Wednesday, Sept. 22. (via Facebook/Sonny Chan)

A political appointee, Chan's term is co-terminous with that of President Duterte, whose presidency will expire on June 3, 2022.

A veteran Filipino diplomat said Chan's assumption to the Philippine Embassy in Brasilia would depend on how soon he receives the approval from the Brazilian government.

This development came after Chan hurdled the Commission on Appointments (CA) proceedings, exactly 15 days after President Duterte signed his nomination papers in Malacañang.

Chan is replacing former Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro, who was dismissed from the service following a leaked video showing her maltreatment of a Filipina househelp at the Philippine chancery in Brasilia.

“Pursuant to the provisions of Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution and existing laws, you are hereby nominated Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federative Republic of Brazil with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Colombia, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, the Republic of Suriname, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with the salary and emoluments of a Chief of Mission Class I,” Duterte said in Chan’s appointment papers dated Sept. 7, 2021.

Prior to his current appointment, Chan served in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for 38 years. He also served as the country's military attaché to India for three years with concurrent jurisdiction over Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

He also served for two years as head executive assistant to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu.

In 2019, Chan was designated as special envoy to Libya with the specific task of helping the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were caught in the middle of an internal strife in that country.

After hurdling the CA, Chan immediately took his oath before DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Brigido Dulay.