MANILA, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Philippines' powerful Commission on Appointments on Wednesday rejected President Duterte's appointment of Perfecto Yasay as Foreign Secretary over his controversial U.S. citizenship.
Yasay, a college buddy of President Rodrigo Duterte, is the first appointee of Duterte to be rejected by the commission, a body in the Senate.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the CA committee on foreign affairs, said it was a "unanimous" decision to reject Yasay's appointment. He urged Duterte to appoint a new one even on acting capacity.
"The commission has gone over the qualifications and issues besetting the appointee," Lacson announced before a plenary session of the CA after the body held a caucus on Yasay's confirmation.
After a careful deliberation, Lacson said "this representation as chairman of the CA committee on foreign affairs, hereby move to reject the ad interim appointment of Yasay."
Lacson said in an interview with reporters that Yasay cannot be reappointed, and that he would no longer be foreign secretary immediately after his rejection.
He said Ysay was already informed about the CA decision.
Yasay has initially denied during his first confirmation at the CA's committee last Feb. 22 that he became an American citizen and that he owned a U.S. passport.
But at the resumption of the hearing this Wednesday, he admitted he was granted U.S. citizenship on Nov. 26, 1986. But he stressed that the citizenship was voided after he abandoned his U.S. residency.
He apologized for "inadvertently" misleading the commission about his U.S. passport.
"Let me quickly apologize for having inadvertently misled the commission on this matter," he said, adding that "it has never been my intention to deceive this commission about my citizenship status."
Yasay took up the post on June 30 last year. Philippine cabinet ministers must undergo a confirmation hearing by lawmakers, but these often take place long after they begin work.