Ambassador Ernesto Hernandez De Leon served as Philippine Ambassador to Australia and non-resident Philippine Ambassador to Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu from June 2006 to September 2010.
It was during his tenure as Philippine Ambassador to Australia that the Philippines Australia Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA) was signed in May 2007. The signing was witnessed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard during then President Macapagal-Arroyo’s State Visit to Australia. It was also during his tenure when the inaugural Bilateral Consultations on Counter-Terrorism was convened in June 2006 in Manila followed by the second meeting in May 2008.
He facilitated the convening of the 2nd Philippines– Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) in 2008 in Manila. He supported a number of high-level exchanges between the two countries including the visits to the Philippines of Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock MP (2006), Prime Minister John Howard for the East Asia Summit (2007), Senate President Alan Ferguson (2007), and South Australian Deputy Premier and Minister for Industry and Trade Kevin Foley (2008). He likewise supported the visits to Australia of President Macapagal-Arroyo (2007), House Speaker Prospero Nograles and his delegation (2009) and other senior officials from the Philippine Government.
Prior to his appointment as Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Ambassador De Leon had an illustrious career in the Armed Forces of the Philippines where he served in various capacities including as the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He was the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Plans, Director of the Naval Modernization Office, and Commander of the Naval Task Group for Anti-Piracy and Naval Task Force 21. He was also assigned as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Operations, Commander of the Patrol Force, Chief of Naval Staff, and Commander of the Naval Forces in Mindanao.
Ambassador De Leon made significant accomplishments in his military career. Among these are his outstanding role in protecting Philippine jurisdictional sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal and in neutralizing the Abu Sayyaf Group terrorist leader Abu Sabaya. As the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he crafted and signed the RP-US Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, and crafted the AFP Military Strategy of 2002.
Ambassador De Leon received several awards and commendations for effective combat performance, efficient administration and academic excellence. Among his awards are: five (5) Distinguished Service Stars; two (2) Presidential Legion of Honor; two (2) Outstanding Achievement Medals; two (2) Distinguished Navy Cross; thirteen (13) Military Merit Medals; the Navy Senior Command-at-Sea Badge; the AFP Combat KAGITINGAN Badge; the French National Order of Legion d’Honneur, Degree of Officer and the French National Order of Merit, Degree of Officer.
Ambassador De Leon obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the Philippine Military Academy in 1972. He earned units in Master in Business Administration with the University of the Philippines, completed a Systems Analysis and Design Course with the National Computer Center of the Philippines, graduated Master in National Security Administration at the National Defense College of the Philippines in 1998, and graduated with a Masters in International Affairs with Merit at the Australian National University in 2008.
He finished his General Staff and Higher Joint Services Courses at the Ecole de Guerre (Joint Services War College) in Paris, France and Project Management Course with the Department of Defence of Australia.
Ambassador De Leon speaks Filipino, English and French.
Ambassador De Leon is married to Emilie Angcaco De Leon of Cebu and blessed with two daughters, Claudia and Cristina, two sons, Arnaldo and Alfonso, and six grandsons, Cristoff, Myko, Ezekiel, Nicolas, Cyd and Dylan.