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Yasay’s citizenship case

There’s always an excuse to justify one’s oversight, but pounding on such oversights has become a vicious preoccupation for many critics. This is the case of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr., who has been bamboozled, threatened with perjury, and his confirmation now under duress for having said he IS NOT an American citizen.

Records show Yasay indeed applied for US citizenship and was duly accepted as such long time ago. He, however, renounced in 1993 his acquired American citizenship, long before he even contemplated to become Foreign Secretary.

To many Filipinos, naturalized citizenship of an adopted country simply means preference to work and earn overseas, but not necessarily to retire under its solace and die there. This is particularly applicable to retirement in the US where cost of living is unquestionably high.

Yasay, a lawyer, was afforded the privilege to become a US citizen. Like many other Filipinos, his assumption of his American citizenship, was an expression of his intention to only work professionally in the US and to return to his motherland when the right time comes. His renunciation of his US privilege and resumption of his Filipino citizenship in 1993 seem thus logical. To insist that he opted to abandoned his roots to die in a foreign land is something most Filipinos find simply illogical and beyond comprehension.

To some, naturalized citizenship may mean total surrender to the country a person has pledged allegiance to. Yasay had applied and was accepted as US citizen, but his heart remained with the Philippines, a reason why he decided to relinquish his US citizenship in 1993.

Ironically, most of Yasay’s vicious critics project themselves with a “holier than thou attitude” as if they have every right to abuse another person’s dignity. They, however, unconditionally condemn others who pick on their faults. To say Yasay has committed an omission in his citizenship statement is to accuse him of being untruthful without first asking in what context he made his remark.

To appreciate Yasay’s case, it is best to know more about him and his background, something his detractors failed to do. One excellent reason why we need him in government, is, first and foremost, he is a fine and decent man, whose vision for an effective foreign service, I am sure, would leave an enduring legacy. (Johnny Dayang)