Yasay must apologize for 'hiding' US citizenship: ex-diplomat

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2017 04:19 PM

Perfecto Yasay Jr

MANILA - Disgraced former Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. should apologize to "each and every Filipino" for not disclosing his previous American citizenship, which cost him his post, a retired diplomat said Thursday. 

Malacañang should also explain to "our allies and the world" why Philippine foreign policy was "entrusted to somebody who is not one of us," said former Ambassador Jose Apolinario Lozada.

"It's a very serious matter," he told ABS-CBN News. 

"Mr. Yasay should apologize to the nation... for hiding from us the truth of who he really is: a foreigner playing important roles in our directions, in our policies, in our future."

Yasay's case was "embarrassing" for the Philippines and "just shows the character of the individual," said Jose Cuisia Jr., former Philippine Ambassador to Washington. 

"If you cannot rely on the secretary of foreign affairs (to tell the truth), how can you rely on say, pronouncements coming from the Department of Foreign Affairs because the leader sets the tone for the department?"

The Commission on Appointments on Wednesday unanimously rejected Yasay's nomination for not disclosing that he was once a US citizen.

In a Facebook post, Yasay insisted Thursday he "did not lie" before the committee "contrary to what my partisan political detractors have claimed in the pursuit of their interest or agenda."

Yasay was replaced by Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, who was named acting secretary while supposedly warming the seat for Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier indicated he would give the post to Cayetano after the one-year appointment ban on those who ran in the 2016. Cayetano was Duterte's runningmate.

Lozada urged Duterte to make Manalo's appointment permanent, saying it would be "useless" to assign a "caretaker" of Manalo's caliber to serve for a mere two months. 

"He has the brains, he knows the issues, he has the respect of his colleagues," Lozada said. 

"He will be a good captain of the DFA ship to take us out of the mess that had happened a couple of months before this."