Maranao lawyer named Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Yemen

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 April) — A Moro lawyer from Lanao del Sur who lived for two decades in the United States and renounced his US citizenship late last year has been named Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

President Rodrigo Duterte nominated Adnan Villaluna Alonto for the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Yemen.

The nomination was dated April 4 but a copy was released to the media only on April 27. Alonto will assume post when he gets the nod of the Commission on Appointments.

Adnan Villaluna Alonto of Lanao del Sur is the new Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Yemen. Contributed photo

The 58-year old son of the late Senator Domocao Alonto and brother of Lanao del Sur Governor Soraya Alonto-Adiong, actively campaigned for Duterte in the United States and was overall North America coordinator for the Brotherhood for Duterte USA.

He is the second Alonto appointed by President Duterte. His first cousin. Abul Khayr Alonto, was appointed chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) last year.

Duterte also named Joseph del Mar Yap as Ambassador to Singapore.

According to his LinkedIn account, Alonto finished AB Political Science at the Mindanao State University in 1981and graduated from the San Beda College of Law in 1985. Duterte graduated from the same school in 1971.

He worked as an Associate at the Robles Ricafrente & Aguirre Law Firm in Makati City from 1989 to 1992, and from 1993 to 1995, at the  Acosta & Corvera Law Offices in Pasig City.

Alonto moved to the United States with his family in 1995 and worked as Litigation Paralegal in Fenwick & West from March 1996 to February 2004, as Labor/Litigation Paralegal at Bingham McCutchen from March 2005 to October 2006 and from October 2006 to September 2016, and as Litigation Paralegal in Intuit at the San Francisco Bay Area, where he managed third-party subpoena responses, and “small claims and customer escalations,” according to his LinkedIn account.

Alonto sent MindaNews a copy of his resume, most of them found in his LinkedIn account except for two entries: from 1987 to 1988, Alonto worked as Associate Attorney at the Chaves Hechanova & Lim Law Offices and from 1988 to 1989 was Presidential Executive Assistant at the Mindanao State University in Marawi.

Alonto returned to the Philippines in late 2016.

Asked if he has renounced his US citizenship, Alonto told MindaNews: “Yes, I have renounced my US citizenship.”

He said he renounced it on November 29, 2016 and “was officially delisted as a US citizen by the US Department of Homeland Security on January 17, 2017.”

“Let me just clarify that I have never lost my Filipino citizenship at any given point in time,” he said, explaining that when he applied for US citizenship in 2005, “the Dual Citizenship Law (Republic Act No. 9225) was already in full force and effect” and that Sec. 3, paragraph 3 thereof states very clearly that: “Natural born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of the Act, become citizens of a foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath.”

RA 9225 was approved on August 29, 2003.

“Clearly, I have not only retained my Filipino citizen, I also kept my natural born status. When the President made known his intent to appoint me to a position, I, without the slightest hesitation, renounced my US citizenship, and ceased to be a dual citizen. As we speak. I have maintained my Uninterrupted Natural-born Filipino status. I hope this clears everything,” Alonto added.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)