MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Businessman Albert del Rosario was sworn in as acting secretary of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.
President Aquino administered Del Rosario's oath at the Bahay Pangarap.
Del Rosario, who is also a former Ambassador to the United States, replaces Alberto Romulo, who recently took a leave from his post.
"He comes with a sterling track record in foreign service to show that he will serve the President and the Republic with integrity and the highest devotion to the democratic principles that underscore all official actions, domestic and foreign," a statement from the Palace said.
"He comes into office at a time filled with many challenges. The President believes that he must be brought to harness at the soonest possible time to be fully briefed and engaged," it said.
The Palace said Del Rosario's appointment is seen to "harmonize our professional foreign service."
"The Chief Executive has every expectation that theirs will be a productive and energetic working relationship," Malacañang said.
Del Rosario was the Philippine Ambassador to Washington from 2001 to 2006 and stepped down after disagreements with the Arroyo government.
He reportedly opposed the hiring of more lobby groups for the Philippine government and had cautioned the Arroyo government on its move to declare an emergency rule in 2006 following reported threats to national security.
In 2008, he wrote that he could not defend the emergency rule to Washington since this was "unjustifiable."
His ties with the Aquino family go way back to President Aquino's parents. When the late Corazon Aquino was president for 6 years starting 1986, he had accompanied her to her state visits to the United States.
In 1991, the late president conferred the Philippine Army Award to Del Rosario for his initiatives as chair of the Makati Foundation Education.
Del Rosario has been a leading business executive whose career spanned over 4 decades. He had a fruitful career in
- insurance (Gotuaco, del Rosario Insurance Brokers, Inc, Asia Insurance Philippines Corp)
- banking (1st e-Bank)
- real estate (FPDSavills Philippines, Bonifacio Land Corporation, Fort Bonifacio Development Corp, Landco Pacific Corporation)
- shipping (Negros Navigation Co)
- telecommunications (Philippine Telecommunications Investment Corporation, PLDT, Smart)
- consumer products
- infrastructure (Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corporation, Manila North Tollways Corporation)
- food (PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk)
- media (MediaQuest Holdings, BusinessWorld, ABC5)
He sat on the board of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Investment Inc (FPIC) and was a director and held key positions in FPIC's Philippine businesses, including telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), diversified conglomerate Metro Pacific Investment Inc (MPIC), and mining firm Philex Mining.
He became a director of PLDT in 1998 and was involved in the controversial deal to buy PLDT shares of taipan Alfonso Yuchengco who had said in a book that he was harassed into selling his shares.
Del Rosario has also been active in socio-civic causes.
He has been conferred the Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Datu, by former president Arroyo in Sept. 2004 for his efforts in promoting foreign relations for the Philippines.
He is a recipient of the EDSA II Presidential Heroes Award in recognition of his work in fostering Philippine democracy.
He studied in New York City for elementary and high school. He earned his economics degree from New York University. He was elevated to the Xavier Hall of Fame in New York City in 2006.
He is married to Gretchen de Venecia. They have 5 children.