Yasay: I had an American passport but had it returned
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Monday admitted that he once carried an American passport, but said he had returned it along with his naturalization certificate.
His admission apparently contradicted his earlier statement to the Commission on Appointments, which put on hold his confirmation due to his questionable citizenship.
“I had an American passport but that has already been returned together with my naturalization certificate,” Yasay said in an interview on television.
He did not say, however, when he returned his US papers.
Yasay described as “incorrect” information that he formally renounced his US citizenship at the US Embassy in Manila on June 28, 2016, or two days before President Duterte appointed him to his Cabinet.
He said the form he filed last year was merely a “confirmation, reiteration and furtherance of what I had done in 1993.”
The form was executed to obtain evidence that he lost his US citizenship to dispel rumors and accusations that he was an American, Yasay said.
The Inquirer obtained a copy of the documents showing that Yasay personally appeared before Vice Consul Kristy Haller at the US Embassy in Manila to formally renounce his US citizenship on June 28 last year.
But Yasay said only the first page of the multiple-page document was shown.
The second page clearly indicated that the basis for the renunciation was a confirmation and reiteration of giving up his US citizenship in 1993, he said.
Flawed and defective
“I went to the American embassy and applied precisely for that evidence, that certificate that I lost my US citizenship because that was the only form available to them. It was a renunciation and relinquishment form,” he said.
Yasay also reiterated that he did not legally acquire American citizenship, as the basis of the grant of citizenship “was flawed and defective.”
Yasay said he was granted US citizenship in November 1986 but around that time, he already had “preconceived intent” of returning to the Philippines.
He admitted, however, that he took an oath as a US citizen on Nov. 24, 1986.
When asked whether taking an oath made him a US citizen, he replied, “Taking my oath did not make me a US citizen if precisely the basis upon which the grant of American citizenship is flawed and defective. I would not have and I did not acquire legally American citizenship.”
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