The Department of Foreign Affairs has put on hold the application of former Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. for renewal of his Philippine passport pending resolution of questions surrounding his citizenship by “competent authorities.”
Yasay filed the application on March 9, a day after the 15-member Commission on Appointments rejected his appointment as head of the country’s foreign service for lying about his American citizenship.
“At this writing, we have received instructions from Acting Secretary (Enrique) Manalo to suspend or hold in abeyance the issuance of the passport to former Secretary Yasay pending resolution of the legal question by competent authorities,” Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Frank R. Cimafranca said.
Asked about the DFA’s move,Yasay said, “I don’t know about that. They did not inform me.” He declined further comment.
Sources close to Yasay said the former secretary’s Philippine passport issued in 2013 is valid up to mid-2018. He applied for Express Processing (seven working days) and paid P1,200.
The DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs said the only requirement for renewal of an e-passport is the current passport.
“The question or determination of Secretary Yasay’s citizenship properly belongs to a court of competent jurisdiction in the Philippines. In the absence of that legal determination, he has in his favor the presumption of regularity with respect to the issuance of his current passport,” Cimafranca said,
He said the Office of Consular Affairs has sought the opinion of the DFA’s legal office on Yasay’s application.
President Rodrigo Duterte named Yasay foreign secretary immediately after the May 2016 elections even as he also said he had offered the position to his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayetano, who lost in the vice presidential race, was at the time covered by the one-year election ban on candidates being appointed to executive positions.
Duterte and Yasay’s friendship dates back to their law school days when they were roommates at the YMCA dormitory in Manila. Duterte was then taking up law at San Beda College and Yasay at the University of the Philippines.
Yasay had denied speculations about his US citizenship. Media investigations, however revealed that he was granted citizenship by the United States government on Nov. 24, 1986. He officially renounced his US citizenship at the U.S. Embassy in Manila on June 26, 2016, two days before he assumed the position of Philippine foreign secretary.
On March 8, the Commission on Appointments unanimously rejected Yasay’s nomination, the first of Duterte’s appointees to suffer such a fate. Manalo, a career foreign service officer, was appointed acting foreign secretary.