The Commission on Appointments yesterday rejected the appointment of Perfecto Yasay Jr. as Foreign Affairs Secretary on the basis of his US citizenship status.
Yasay failed to defend his citizenship status following reports that he renounced his US citizenship on June 28, 2016 or two days before President Duterte appointed him to the Cabinet.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, chairperson of the CA panel on Foreign Affairs, said that 15 out of 18 members of the CA unanimously voted to reject Yasay’s confirmation. “The ad interim of Secretary Yasay is rejected,” Lacson said during the CA plenary session.
In an interview with reporters, Lacson said that if a Senate panel could criticize a resource person for not telling the truth, the same should be applied to a Cabinet official. “It only shows that the CA will not be a rubber stamp of the Executive Department. We all know how close Atty. Yasay is to the President (Duterte) and it did not deter the commission from acting independently,” Lacson said.
“Because on the view of the majority that he was not telling the truth in the question and answer portion of the hearing, we decided to reject his ad interim appointment. It was unanimous, nobody objected,” Lacson said.
Lacson pointed out that the best evidence are Yasay’s documents and records. “If the records contradict what you’re saying even if you’re under oath, your testimony won’t carry weight against the records,” he added.
He said that Yasay’s rejection also means that he can no longer be reappointed as Foreign Affairs Secretary.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it respects the decision of the CA to reject the appointment of Yasay. It said that it now awaits Duterte’s appointment of a new Foreign Affairs chief.
In a short statement yesterday, DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said the DFA will “ensure that the transition will go smoothly” and that it will continue to carry out its work effectively. (PNA, Hannah L. Torregoza, and Roy C. Mabasa)