Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has admitted that he was issued an American passport but never acquired US citizenship because he was disqualified because of his “preconceived intent of abandoning his US residency.”
Yasay, in an interview with ANC’s Headstart on Monday, said he left the Philippines after former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was killed in 1983.
“When the ouster [of then-President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986]came, my application was already there, and when I came back, and I took my oath, I had the preconceived intent already because I just came back from the Philippines and said I was immediately going back,” he added.
Yasay said taking his oath as a US citizen did not make him a US citizen.
“I would not have [acquired]and I did not acquire legally American citizenship. It is precisely for that reason that three months [later], in January 1987, I returned to the Philippines,” he added.
The Foreign Affairs secretary said he had returned his American passport together with his naturalization certificate.
“And this consolidated the position that I did not legally acquire US citizenship and I returned all of my papers, executed an affidavit, telling the American authorities that I did not qualify and this is my right,” he added.
Yasay said he has no dual citizenship and is not stateless either.
Under American law, he explained, one is “disqualified for being an American citizen” if at the time of application or granting, one had the “preconceived intent of abandoning [his]US residency.”
“[I]n fact, you abandon your US residency within two years after obtaining that US citizenship,” Yasay said.
The Commission on Appointment is yet to confirm the appointment of Yasay as Foreign Affairs chief.
He is accused of violating the Philippine Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 or Republic Act 9225, which prohibits a foreigner from being appointed as public official. JAIME R. PILAPIL