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CA OKs appointments of PH envoy to New Zealand, 14 DFA execs

The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed on Wednesday the nomination of the Philippine ambassador to New Zealand and the ad interim appointments of 14 Department of Foreign Affairs officials.

The approval came after the CA committee on foreign affairs endorsed the following appointments to the plenary:

  • Kira Christianne Danganan Azucena: Chief of Mission, Class I, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to New Zealand, with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, the Independent State of Samoa, and the Cook Islands
  • Ariel Rodela Peñaranda, Chief of Mission, Class I
  • Lilibeth Rodriguez Deapera, Chief of Mission, Class I
  • Edna May Grecia Lazaro, Chief of Mission, Class II
  • Edgar Tomas Quilino Auxilian, Chief of Mission, Class II
  • Winston Dean Siscon Almeda, Career Minister
  • Sheila Maria Chan Tario, Career Minister
  • Raymund Gatal Toledo, Career Minister
  • Randy Bagaipo Arquiza, Career Minister
  • Jan Kenneth Eduarte Bolante, Foreign Service Officer, Class I
  • Glenn Joseph Quilantang Obach, Foreign Service Officer, Class I
  • Ira Micheline Reyes Valdez, Foreign Service Officer, Class I
  • Jan Sherwin Perez Wenceslao, Foreign Service Officer, Class I
  • Francis Maynard Sarmiento Maleon, Foreign Service Officer, Class I
  • Jeffrey Angelo Valdez, Foreign Service Officer, Class I


The CA panel also tackled the nomination of Bienvenido Villamor Tejano as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Papua New Guinea, with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Kiribati and Solomon Islands.

However, Surigao del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel moved to defer the endorsement of Tejano's appointment after the latter failed to clarify the cases of sexual assault against him. 

It was Senator Risa Hontiveros who asked Tejano to explain local and international news articles about allegations of sexual assault, including an incident involving his former Filipino household staff in Papua New Guinea.

In that case, Hontiveros said Tejano had invoked diplomatic immunity before the court.

During the CA hearing, Tejano said the sexual assault allegations against him were fabricated. 

“These are all fabricated. At ito po ay nag-ugat sa isang Pilipina na hindi ko natulungan sa Papua New Guinea, na nakakalungkot dahil gumawa sila ng ganito para lang siraan ako para maalis ako doon,” Tejano said.

(These are all fabricated. The allegations were made by a Filipina whom I failed to assist in Papua New Guinea. It's unfortunate that they did this to malign me and have me removed from my position.)

“I was in shock when I saw this allegation. And I don't have a media to cover my reason because I was not included in the media issues,” he added. 

The appointee said that he had been cleared of these accusations following investigations by the DFA and the defunct Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

Hontiveros asked Tejano to provide the CA panel with the results of the investigations of the DFA and Malacañang.

Cavite Representative Lani Mercado Revilla said Tejano must submit documents regarding the alleged sexual assault incident in Papua New Guinea and the rape case filed by his grand niece. which was reportedly dismissed by a Parañaque City court.

But Pimentel said that the rape case was dismissed because it was filed beyond the prescriptive period, or the maximum period within which a legal action must be initiated.

“The dismissal does not prove your innocence,” Pimentel said.

CA Majority Leader Luis Raymund Villafuerte even offered to conduct an executive session so that Tejano could answer the queries of lawmakers freely, but it did not push through after after Sagip party-list Representative Rodante Marcoleta said they only wanted the appointee to be “forthright” with the status of the cases.

Since Tejano failed to clarify the sexual assault allegations, Pimentel suggested deferring the deliberations on the DFA official's appointment.

“Since it is very clear that Ambassador Tejano is holding several [pieces of] information for us and I think it would be embarrassing for him to divulge these in public...I move that we defer the appointment of Ambassador Tejano until such time the issues have been cleared and he will be able to submit the decision of the Parañaque case so that we will be able to peruse this information,” Pimentel said.

The motion was approved by the CA panel. — VBL, GMA Integrated News