Yasay out as Foreign Affairs Secretary as CA rejects his appointment

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 March) – Perfecto Yasay Jr. is out as Foreign Affairs Secretary after the Commission on Appointments by a unanimous vote rejected his ad interim appointment Wednesday morning, March 8.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson announced at the Senate plenary session that the CA “has gone over the qualifications and issues besetting the appointee” and “after careful deliberation of the foregoing circumstances and upon a unanimous vote of 15 of its members present in a caucus this morning, this representation as chairman of the CA Committee on Foreign Affairs, hereby moves to reject the ad interim appointment of Perfecto Rivas Yasay Jr.”

Yasay, President Rodrigo Duterte’s roommate at the YMCA dorm in Manila while Duterte was studying Law at San Beda and Yasay was studying Law at the University of the Philippines, has to vacate office because a rejection by the CA means he cannot be reappointed by the President.

Lacson said that while the CA may not be the proper forum to resolve issues on Yasay’s alleged United States citizenship, “it cannot be denied that the CA is also a proper forum to determine his qualifications and fitness as foreign affairs secretary.”

On February 22, Yasay told the CA that he “never held any American passport,” the he “never legally acquired US citizenship” but on June 28, 2016, or two days before he took his oath as Foreign Affairs Secretary following the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Yasay “formally renounced” his US citizenship before a consular officer at the US Embassy in Manila.

Yasay apologized for saying that issues about his confirmation were linked to an alleged “destabilization plot” against the Duterte administration.

He apologized to CA members who were “hurt” by his allegations on destabilization.

Lawmakers earlier said Yasay could be liable for perjury.

Duterte, then presumptive President, named Yasay as acting Foreign Affairs Secretary on May 16, 2016.

He had given Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, his running mate in the May 2016 polls, the choice of becoming Secretary of Foreign Affairs or Justice when the one-year ban on appointment of defeated candidates, lapses.

“In the meantime,” Duterte said, Yasay would serve as Acting Secretary for one year.

“Sabi nya he has a teaching commitment (he is a) Professor of law sa Hawaii and he just came home to greet me. Ngayon sabi ko, if he can take extra one year – mag furlough muna siya, take a sabbatical leave, just join me, I would assign him sa Department of Foreign Affairs in acting capacity,” Duterte said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)