STRANGELY, the spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is crying a river over the rejection of Mr. Perfecto Yasay’s appointment as foreign affairs secretary by the Commission on Appointments in Congress.
This official posture, if official it is, is misplaced and wrongheaded. We think that Mr. Charlie Jose, in speaking for the department, should express instead the DFA’s indignation over the rank deception that Mr. Yasay tried to pull and almost succeeded in inflicting on the nation’s foreign service – a spurious appointment to a highly sensitive post.
The DFA spokesman should have bewailed instead the sorry joke that would have been perpetrated on us, where a person who is a citizen of another country would become our country‘s chief diplomat.
It may be true that convention allows us to call the DFA secretary the “foreign secretary,” but this has never been twisted to mean that a foreigner can take the post of the Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Yasay’s big sin before the congressional Commission on Appointments, and for which he has now paid dearly, was in blatantly lying about his citizenship status, and in concealing the fact that he forsook his Filipino citizenship and became a naturalized citizen of the United States and for a time carried that country’s passport. When the facts of this matter were exposed, it was game over for him.
But perhaps Yasay’s bigger sin against the nation was in deceiving President Rodrigo Duterte and misrepresenting himself as a qualified Filipino citizen so as to secure appointment as DFA secretary in the new Duterte administration. He only formally shed his US citizenship before an American embassy officer months after he had been nominated for the post.
He sought to duplicate his appointment under the Fidel V. Ramos administration as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That earlier appointment was already anomalous. This second one would have been calamitous.
Consequently, and because of Yasay’s duplicity during the past eight months, the nation had a foreign affairs secretary a person who was of questionable citizenship. He dared to present himself before the world as the personification of Filipino foreign policy. He even dared at public forums to hector others on principles and values in international relations.
Trying to play down and console himself after the commission’s rejection, Yasay tried to put the best face on his public comeuppance. He declared that he would at least finally have the time “to get a haircut.”
This is hilarious and grotesque. This episode will go down as the most expensive and dangerous haircut in Philippine history. The appointments commission came out just in time to serve as barber to Yasay’s ambition.
Shorn of his pretensions and delusions, Yasay has become just another conman who has been exposed and has reaped his just desserts.