Speech Endorsing the Confirmation of Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America

Our soon-to-be man in Washington DC is no babe in the woods in US affairs.

Though principally based in Manila, he has enough contacts in the American capital that he can be considered a Beltway insider.

So wide is his network, I was told, that should Trump drain the swamp, those flushed away and those who will remain are surely friends of his.

So wired is he with the beating heart of the US government, that a friend has joked that if the nominee decides to swim across the Potomac unannounced, someone in Foggy Bottom will be waiting with a set of dry clothes for him.

But more than connections, he has many other competencies, not to mention the communication skills, which make him a fine diplomat.

He is articulate in both the spoken and written word. He was a TV reporter, and remains a working journalist, churning multiple columns in a week, in addition to running a publishing house.

Though he has not held public office, he dabbles in policy, which qualifies him as a public intellectual whose views shape major decisions taken by those in power.

He is an influencer, but of the cerebral kind, whose contributions to civic debates are not confined to 140-character blasts, or troll-friendly memes, but in well thought-out think pieces.

The CA briefing paper says he is an Americanophile, which is good, because it means that he is abreast with US developments, and attuned to policy debates that would have an impact on our country.

Mr. President:

He will be going to the US capital during one of the lowest points of Philippine-US relations.

But I believe that he can heal whatever fissures there are, and correct whatever misconceptions have arisen in recent months.

Luckily the two countries' relationship is so deep, and so is the knowledge of the person who will represent our interests.

And he knows how important his mission is, at a time when shifting geopolitical tides and changing global trade winds could lead us to perilous shoals, that after decades of refusing public appointment, this patriot has finally accepted one.

Thus, it is with pleasure that I second the confirmation of the appointment of Mr. Jose Manuel Romualdez as our Ambassador to the United States of America.

Source: Senate of the Philippines