by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News
Controversy around Philippine Dept. of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay’s US citizenship is still hounding him.
Secretary Yasay has claimed a number of times that he was never a citizen of the US.
“I did not abandon my citizenship in the Philippines,” he said publicly. “There is no consistency in so far as taking an oath, and my losing citizenship on that basis.”
US citizens are not qualified to work as high-ranking Philippine public officials – especially in a position such as Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary.
However, a number of documents have surfaced that seem to contradict Yasay’s claim.
An IRS federal register notice included Perfecto Rivas Yasay Jr. in a list of individuals who lost their US citizenship.
It is noted that those listed in the notice were treated as if they were US citizens who lost citizenship.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer also published a number of documents that showed Yasay – who came to the US in 1978 — to become a naturalized US citizen in 1986.
In this document, the secretary claimed to have moved back to the Philippines in 1987, and revoked his US citizenship in 1993.
But it was not until June 28, 2016 that a certificate of loss of nationality of the United States had been issued to Yasay at the US Embassy in Manila, according to this document.
That was 2 days before President Rodrigo Duterte took the oath of office, and swore him in as secretary of foreign affairs.
US-based immigration lawyer Lou Tancinco says this act of renunciation is clear proof that Yasay was indeed an American citizen.
“You cannot say that you never had a citizenship, when you went before to a consular officer and renounced it,” said Atty. Tancinco. “What are you renouncing?”
According to Senator Panfilo (Ping) Lacson, Yasay could be liable for perjury over this citizenship controversy.
“It could be a cause for a complaint for perjury,” said Sen. Lacson, who services as Chairman, on the committee on justice, commission on appointments.
“If it can be proven, na nag-lie siya, at authentic ang mga dokumento.”
But Malacanang spokesman Ernesto Abella said the senator’s statement about his citizenship is credible and reasonable, adding that Mr. Yasay stands on his own explanation.