Duterte defends Yasay
President Rodrigo Duterte defended on Thursday Perfecto Yasay Jr. whose nomination as secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.
In an interview in Davao del Sur, Duterte said Yasay did not go to the United States because he wanted to, but due to circumstances during the martial law years.
He said that Yasay was his room mate in Manila when he was taking up law in San Beda College.
But when martial law was declared, Yasay, along with " (Ernesto) Maceda," had left "because they are in the list of wanted (people) that were shown to the police," he said.
"The next thing I knew, (he) surfaced in America, may be...temporary asylum and of course, (he had) travel document so that they could travel to other parts of the world. They were avoiding the Philippines because they are wanted here," Duterte said.
"After martial law years, they came back. I really don't know what happened along the way but definitely I can say Yasay was there not of his own choice to live in America but rather they were seeking asylum," he added.
The Commission on Appointments rejected Yasay's nomination as DFA chief due to his alleged US citizenship issue.
Undersecretary Enrique Manalo was appointed acting foreign secretary on Thursday. Celerina Monte/DMS