MANILA - Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments as foreign affairs Secretary.
Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, the chair of the CA Foreign Affairs Committee, endorsed Cayetano's appointment after what he dubbed as "probably the shortest public hearing" on Wednesday.
Senators Ralph Recto, JV Ejercito, and Juan Miguel Zubiri, and CA Vice Chairman Ronald Zamora threw their weight behind Lacson's endorsement.
The motion for Cayetano's appointment met no objection, making him the official Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 said he would offer the foreign affairs portfolio to Cayetano, his running mate, after the one-year appointment ban on defeated candidates lapses. Duterte made true his promise earlier this month.
Cayetano has been a fixture in Duterte's foreign trips. He also defended the human rights record of the administration's war on drugs during a review of the United Nations.
"I will do my best na hindi kayo mapahiya," he said in a speech after getting the CA panel's backing.
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’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.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Cayetano vowed to use an "objective-based" approach in resolving the country's territorial claims to the West Philippine Sea.
Cayetano also said that "integrating" non-traditional media practitioners into DFA initiatives is among his priorities.