MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has accepted Domingo Lee’s request that his nomination as Philippine ambassador to the People’s Republic of China be withdrawn after having been repeatedly bypassed by the Commission on Appointments.
In a letter dated April 12 and received by Malacañang on April 17, Lee cited that the absence of an ambassador in China has “gravely put much of the diplomatic work” on the President, given the ongoing standoff between the Philippines and China over the Scarborough shoal.
He also said that the protracted hearings of the Commission on Appointments has “deeply affected” him and his family.
“It is with utmost sadness that I am writing this letter to respectfully request Your Excellency that my nomination as Philippine Ambassador to the People Republic of China be withdrawn,” Lee said in the letter.
“I am constrained to admit the pressure from the rigors of the confirmation process in the Commission on Appointments has deeply affected my family and myself, and my familial responsibility compels me to put their interests above anything else,” he added.”
“It is also not lost on me that the on-going confrontation with China has gravely put much of the diplomatic work in the shoulders of Your Excellency, which should not be the case if there, at present, an Ambassador in China.”
Lee said the withdrawal of his nomination would give President Aquino a free hand to select a new nominee to become Philippine ambassador to China.
“I believe that it is my patriotic duty to advance the interests of the country that I profoundly love and allow your Excellency a free hand in selecting a new nominee to the ambassadorial post to the People’s Republic of China.”
Lee thanked Aquino for the confidence that has been given to him.
“President Aquino has agreed to Ambassador Lee’s wish and therefore Domingo Lee will no longer be appointed our ambassador to China,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang told reporters.
“Mr. Lee is politically attuned to the developments in China. He has an extensive list of contacts in China and was eager to become our ambassador to China. Unfortunately, the protracted confirmation process, Mr. Lee felt, was not something that the country could not afford a time when we’re addressing serious issues with the People’s Republic of China. And so with the national interest in mind, Mr. Lee has requested, and the President has granted, the withdrawal of his nomination as ambassador to China,” he added.
Carandang said that the search for a replacement for Lee has started although the Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to submit a list of candidates.
“We expect that a nominee will be announced in the coming days,” Carandang said.