MANILA – A lawmaker who is a member of the Commission on Appointments (CA) is ready to block Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.'s confirmation because documents he submitted counter his claim last week that he was never an American citizen.
The documents submitted to the CA include an affidavit from Yasay himself, which said that he became a US citizen in 1986, said Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato.
"He was granted a US citizenship by virtue of his petition number 128395, which he filed before the US District of New Jersey. So it was very clear that he was granted in 1986 US citizenship," Sato said.
Aside from the affidavit, Yasay also submitted a certificate which said that he formally renounced his US citizenship in June 2016 at the US Embassy in Manila, days before assuming the DFA post.
"I will confront him with his own documents and maybe let him explain why he lied to us. He categorically stated that he was never an American citizen, when all these prove that he was, at some point in time," Sato said.
According to US-based immigration lawyer Lou Tancinco, Yasay’s renunciation of his US citizenship shows he became an American citizen.
“You cannot say that you never had a citizenship when you went to a consular officer and renounced it. What are you renouncing?” Tancino said.
Earlier, Senator Ping Lacson, chair of the CA’s foreign affairs committee, said Yasay could face perjury charges if it is proven that he lied under oath during last year’s hearing.
"That could be a cause for a complaint for perjury. If it can be proven na nag-lie siya at authentic ang mga dokumento [na binigay niya kay Sato] (that he lied and the documents [he gave Sato] are authentic),” Lacson said.
However, Malacanang said that it is content with Yasay’s explanation.
“Mr. Yasay has already made a very credible, and logical, reasonable response regarding the matter. And so Mr. Lacson, of course, he makes his own comments. Mr. Yasay stands on his own explanation,” said Presidential spokesperson Sec. Ernesto Abella.
Yasay again faces the CA next week. --with reports from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News