Budget chief Diokno is the new BSP governor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has been appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to replace late Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr.

This was confirmed by Diokno himself in a text message to CNN Philippines on Monday.

Diokno is the first non-BSP official to be appointed to the position after the late Rafael Buenaventura in 1999.

Espenilla died on February 23 after battling cancer for over a year. He was 60.

READ: BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. passed away at 60

BSP Deputy Governor Almasara Tuano-Amador took over as officer-in-charge following Espenilla's death.

Several government officials, including former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, were rumored to be in the running to fill in for the vacated position.

READ: Speaker Arroyo shrugs off talks of becoming next BSP chief

Malacañang has expressed its gratitude towards Diokno for serving as part of Duterte's Cabinet.

"During the Duterte Administration, Sec. Diokno was instrumental in presenting a budget which laid down the foundation for a 'Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay' through investments in growth-enhancing infrastructure programs and innovations, inequality-reducing social services and peace-enabling initiatives. A job well done indeed, and expertly at that," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

With Diokno at the helm of the central bank, Panelo said, the country's "banking institutions are in a good and competent hands."

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.