IF the confirmation hearings for former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. were long and grueling, the process was fast and painless for his successor, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, whose nomination was approved by the Commission on Appointments (CA) in less than five minutes.
Cayetano’s speedy confirmation was expected as several senators had earlier said that they will extend this courtesy to their colleague.
The CA’s committee on foreign affairs headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson immediately approved the motion recommending the referral of Cayetano’s confirmation to the plenary.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd, the CA’s majority leader, moved to recommend Cayetano’s confirmation even before the latter could take his seat.
“I now have the distinction or the privilege of presiding over the shortest confirmation hearing of a Cabinet secretary,” Lacson said after he terminated the hearing.
Cayetano thanked the members of the appointments body for acting quickly on his nomination.
“I make a commitment to you today that I will do my best na hindi kayo mapahiya (not to embarrass you),” he said.
He also vowed to support the country’s national interest and help strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations with other nations.
“In the field of foreign relations, while much has been done, there remains so much to do. Advocating and promoting our national interest, strengthening our bilateral and multilateral relations with other countries and organizations around the world and of course the protection, welfare, comfort of all Filipinos overseas, particularly our modern day heroes,” Cayetano added.
He vowed to continue helping President Rodrigo Duterte fulfill his promise of promoting the welfare of the Filipino people, as well as the country’s national sovereignty and interest, territorial integrity and national security.
Malacañang said Cayetano will bring with him a wealth of experience in foreign relations, citing the former senator’s chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in the 17th Congress.
“Secretary Cayetano is a welcome addition to the President’s official family,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
Senate president pro-tempore Ralph Recto noted that Cayetano is what the country needs as foreign affairs secretary.
“If in these troubled times what we need is a Secretary of Foreign Affairs with the knack of making a point without making an enemy, then we will find that man in Alan Peter Cayetano,” Recto said, adding that Cayetano’s 19 years in Congress prepared him for the grueling job ahead.
The CA rejected Yasay’s nomination as head of the Department of Foreign Affairs because he lied about his American citizenship.
Others make it
The CA also confirmed the appointment of Wilfredo Cunanan Santos as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Iran, with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan; Bernardita Leonida Catalla, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Lebanon and Adnan Villaluna Alonto, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Saudi Arabia, with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Yemen.
The appointments body also approved the ad interim appointments of two foreign service officers — Jim Gabrillo Minglana and Robert Eric Alabado Borje.
WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE