Philippine secretary replaced for lying about nationality

Indo Asian News Service

Manila, March 9 (IANS) Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday replaced the foreign secretary after his appointment was rejected by the Congress for lying about his nationality.

Diplomat Enrique Manolo, who was the Undersecretary of Policy, was appointed the acting secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs, replacing Perfecto Yasay, who has been embroiled in a controversy over his nationality after media reports revealed that he was an American citizen in the past, Efe news reported.

"The new secretary is an excellent transition man, and has been on top of many crucial issues together with Perfecto Yasay," presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Yasay had categorically denied holding any other citizenship until Monday when he admitted in a television interview that he held an American passport in 1986.

He told the Commission on Appointments, who needed to confirm his appointment, that he had never lied but kept some details to himself and that he had retained his Philippine nationality.

However, his appointment was unanimously rejected by all 15 members of the commission.

Meanwhile, Manolo is expected to hold charge until May, when he will likely be replaced by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who was Duterte's first choice for foreign secretary.

However, Philippine law forbids Cayetano from holding government office for a year as he was a vice presidential candidate during the elections.

Manolo was Philippine's Ambassador to the UK and Belgium, permanent representative at the UN in Geneva and joint permanent representative at the UN in New York.