“Less talk, less mistake; No talk, no mistake,” Genaro Magsaysay reportedly said when asked to talk about the issues while he was running for a Philippine Senate seat. He won.
The Commission on Appointments on March 8, rejected the ad interim appointment of Attorney Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr as Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs after he refused to answer a Commission member’s question to “categorically answer 'yes or no,' whether at one point in time in your life, were you ever an American citizen? Just a yes or no.” Yasay had replied: "I wish I could answer that question with a yes or no, but as directly as I could in answering that question, I have always admitted that I was granted US citizenship. That is my answer." "I was granted US citizenship on November 26, 1986, but it is my position that that grant of US citizenship at that time was void ab initio on the basis of the explanation I have stated in my affidavit.”
Yasay reportedly said in a prior interview: “But at that time I was granted US citizenship, I had a “preconceived intent” of returning back to the Philippines.” He reportedly said that taking the oath of citizenship “does not make me a US citizen if precisely the basis upon which the grant of American citizenship is flawed and is defective." "I would not have and I did not acquire legally American citizenship. It is precisely for that reason that three months after, in January 1987, I returned back to the Philippines." "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." He said that under American law, one is "disqualified for being an American citizenship" if at the time of application or granting, one had the "preconceived intent of abandoning your US residency and in fact you abandon your US residency within two years after obtaining that U.S. citizenship."
On November 24, 1986, Yasay took his oath as a United States citizen. On January 8, 1987, Yasay returned to the Philippines and “abandoned” his U.S. residency. On February 23, 1993, Yasay signed an affidavit that he had abandoned his residency in the United States in 1987, thereby becoming "ineligible" for U.S. citizenship. In March 1993, Yasay was appointed as an associate commissioner of the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). On June 28, 2016, Yasay renounced his American citizenship before an American consular official in Manila. On February 22, 2017, Yasay told the Commission on Appointments that his 1993 affidavit stating that he had abandoned his U.S. residency "nullified" his oath of allegiance to the U.S., thus he "did not acquire legal status as a U.S. citizen."
The question has arisen: why did Mr. Yasay have to formally renounce his U.S. citizenship before a U.S. consular official in Manila on June 28, 2016 if the grant of U.S. citizenship to him on November 24, 1986 was “void ab initio” because he had a “preconceived intent” of returning back to the Philippines?