Commission on Appointments rejects Yasay as foreign secretary
The Commission on Appointments unanimously rejected on Wednesday the ad interim appointment of Perfecto Yasay Jr as foreign secretary, radio reports said.
"After careful deliberations of the foregoing circumstances and upon a unanimous vote of 15 of its members present in the caucus held this morning, this representation as chairman of the committee on foreign affairs hereby moves to reject the appointment," Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee.
"Is there any objection? Hearing nine, the motion is approved," said Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.
In a statement, foreign affairs department spokesman Charles Jose said the department “will await the president’s appointment of a new Secretary of Foreign Affairs.”
Jose added the Department of Foreign Affairs “respect the decision of the Commission on Appointments.” “We will ensure that the transition will go smoothly and that the DFA continues to carry out its work effectively,” he added.
This is the first time a secretary of foreign affairs failed to get the approval of the bicameral Commission on Appointments. This comes as the Philippines is this year’s chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Lawmakers rejected Yasay’s ad-interim appointment after learning he was an American citizen and that he failed to disclose it during the committee hearing.
Yasay had admitted that he had a US passport but he said he returned it. He apologized to the Commission on Appointments.
"Let me quickly apologize for having inadvertently misled the Commission on this matter. It has never been my intention to deceive this Commission about my citizenship status," Yasay said.
"I am a Filipino and I am not an American citizen," Yasay said.
But Lacson said: “Let this be a reminder to everyone present in this hall, that by definition, an oath is a solemn declaration, accompanied by a swearing to God or a revered person or thing, that one’s statement is true or that one will be bound to a promise. The person making the oath implicitly invites punishment if the statement is untrue or the promise is broken. The legal effect of an oath is to subject the person to penalties for perjury if the testimony is false.” DMS