Only ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary may claim 'Ambassador' title — E.O. 5

September 1, 2010 10:30 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Aug. 31 —- No longer can envoys on special task forces or ad hoc foreign assignments append the title “Ambassador” to their names, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs(DFA) as per directive issued recently by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

Rather, the appendage is an entitlement only for a Malacanang-appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (AEP) who could either be a career diplomat from the ranks of the DFA or a political appointee usually accredited as the chief-of-mission of an embassy.

President Aquino made this clear in Executive Order (EO) No. 5, signed August 25 last week, which amends E.O. 594 of December 20, 2006 signed by his predecessor, former president now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Aquino’s EO said it based the amendment on Republic Act 7157, or the Foreign Service Act of 1991, quoting the portion which states "only an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary may carry this title.”

Easily called to mind with this directive is the case of retired General Roy Cimatu of the DFA’s Middle East Preparedness Task Force.

Cimatu returned recently from a complicated diplomatic mission to Iraq on the situation of banned Filipino workers as the U.S. military conducted a "drawdown" of its troops there.

Cimatu, who was appointed by during the Arroyo administration, is known not to append ”Ambassador” to his name, though many say that he has done so much for Philippine diplomacy in the Middle East than did many of Manila’s so-called AEPs in sedate foreign missions.

The AEP term and title is part of the "lingua franca" of the diplomatic world, specified under the Geneva Convention.

Also in the past administration, there were at least 20 “Ambassadors” who generally served pro-bono, but with the psychic benefit of an "Ambassador” appendage because of its diplomatic niceties and accoutrement.(PNA) >br> V3/GJB

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