SENATOR JINGGOY EJERCITO ESTRADA
Chairperson, Committee on Foreign Affairs
Commission on Appointments
August 9, 2023
Mr. Chairman, honorable members of the Commission on Appointments, ladies and gentlemen, this representation as Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs has the distinct privilege to sponsor the nominations and ad interim appointment of three (3) officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Your Committee on Foreign Affairs conducted this morning the very first public hearing of the Commission on Appointments for the Second Regular Session to deliberate on their personal merits, during which we found all our appointees to be fit and qualified, and ruled to endorse them to the plenary for the approval of this august body.
The DFA celebrated last July 19 its 125th anniversary, equivalent to the number of years of Philippine independence. The DFA as an institution has endured for more than a century, as it has accomplished many important legacies which immensely benefitted the nation and the Filipino people. In his message during the agency’s quasquicentennial celebration, President Marcos showed his appreciation for the, if I may quote, “difficult, sometimes extremely complicated, and always quiet work” that they do. Its exemplary performance throughout the years is made possible and carried out by the commitment, professionalism and competence of the men and women of the DFA – three of which are optimistic that they will get this body’s confirmation.
Distinguished colleagues, I respectfully recommend that this body give its consent to the nominations of two (2) ambassadors, namely:
- PHILIPPE JONES LHUILLIER – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Spain, with concurrent jurisdiction over the Principality of Andorra, with the salary and emoluments of a Chief of Mission, Class I
Our nominee devoted 23 years to Philippine foreign service, who represented our country as the longest-serving Ambassador to the Italian Republic for 11 years from 1999 to 2010, and as Ambassador to the Portuguese Republic from 2012 to 2016. He is our Ambassador to Spain since September 2016. He is highly reputed for being one of the most prominent entrepreneurs and philanthropists in the Philippines.
- MERSOLE JALA MELLEJOR – Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, the Republic of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the Gabonese Republic, the Republic of the Gambia, the Republic of Ghana, the Republic of Liberia, the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Togolese Republic
He serves as Executive Director and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Human Resources Management Office (HRMO) here in the home office since January 2021. Prior to this, he was posted as Consul at the Philippine Consulate General in Milan, Italy from 2017 to 2020, and assumed important posts in Philippine Embassies in Singapore and in Prague, Czech Republic. The native from Bohol started his career in the DFA in 2002 and has since dedicated 21 years in the foreign service, and named an Outstanding Employee of the DFA twice.
Likewise, dear colleagues, I recommend that this body confirm the ad interim appointment and promotion of:
- RAQUEL RAYEL SOLANO – to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class II
She presently serves as Deputy Consul General in Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, California, a post she held since 2018. In the home office, she served as Executive Director of the Office of United Nations and other International Organizations (UNIO). Previously, she was deployed in various overseas posts – including the Philippine Embassies in Manama, Bahrain, and in Doha, Qatar; and in the Philippine Consulate General in Agana, Guam.
I so move, Mr. Chairman.