MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday gave no concrete answer when asked if he would make good on his promise to appoint Senator Alan Peter Cayetano as foreign affairs secretary in May.
After winning the presidential race last year, Duterte said he would offer the foreign affairs portfolio to Cayetano, his running mate, after the one-year appointment ban on defeated candidates lapses. Duterte repeated his promise last December.
Accepting the foreign affairs portfolio means Cayetano would have to abandon his Senate seat four years into his term. Cayetano succeeded in his Senate re-election bid in 2013, which means his 6-year term as senator will end in 2019.
Duterte, however, appeared non-committal when asked whether Cayetano will become the country’s next secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Hindi pa namin pinag-uusapan. But you know, Senator Cayetano is a very brilliant man. He would be needed by the Senate. Huwag niyong walain iyan. Dito pwede namang acting, acting eh,” Duterte said, referring to the DFA post.
(We haven't talked about it. But you know, Senator Cayetano is a very brilliant man. He would be needed by the Senate. Don't belittle that. In the DFA, we can do with acting secretaries.)
Duterte’s first foreign affairs secretary, Perfecto Yasay Jr., had to leave his post after his appointment was rejected by Congress due to questions about his citizenship.
Yasay was replaced by Enrique Manalo, a career diplomat, as acting secretary.