THE rejection by the Commission on Appointments of the nomination of Perfecto Yasay, Jr. as foreign secretary due to uncertainty about his citizenship has led some quarters to express doubts about the nationality of his once-presumed successor, Senator Alan Cayetano.
Cayetano’s father, the late Senator Rene Cayetano was a Filipino. His mother is an American citizen.
The Senator, however, declared categorically that he is a Filipino citizen.
I guess that is now water under the bridge after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong said that Cayetano would be needed more in the Senate and would like him to stay there.
Another cabinet member whose citizenship may be put under the microscope is Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
A member of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers-in-Command (AGFO) said that not many members of the Association know much about Lorenzana who retired as a two-star major general in 2004. WikiPilipinas says he received his second star in May 2003 at Blair House in Washington, the US’ official guest house for visiting dignitaries.
He was defense and armed forces attache in Washington in 2002-2004. Soon after his retirement in 2004, he was appointed Special Presidential Representative for Veterans Affairs/Head of the Office of Veterans Affairs at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC., from 2004 to 2015. He, therefore, lived in the US for a virtually uninterrupted period of about thirteen (13) years!
(In the diplomatic service, one tends to develop what is called “localitis” when s/he stays too long in one post. S/he begins to think what is good for his/her host country must also be good for his/her own. This is why diplomatic personnel are rotated on a regular basis, usually after three years.)
The question that has been asked in certain quarters is: Has Lorenzana acquired US citizenship or permanent residence (green card) in the US? What is his present status?
The question gained traction once again in the wake of Lorenzana’s revealing in public that last year, repeat, last year, China had been violating the sovereign rights of the Philippines over the Benham Rise.
Knowing that Digong is in the middle of smoothening our relations with China, why did he do it at this time, obviously without the former’s permission? Surely, he must have known that his statement would irk China. His timing is suspect.
As we now know, Digong said he was informed beforehand by China of passing through Benham Rise which is in accord with her exercise of freedom of navigation through international waters. Lorenzana said he was surprised when informed about Digong’s comments. He insisted that several Chinese ships had been surveying the area. Did he previously make his boss aware of that?
In any case, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying subsequently reaffirmed that China respects Philippines’ sovereign rights over the continental shelf in the Benham Rise.
“I wish to reiterate that China fully respects the Philippines’ rights over the continental shelf in the Benham Rise and there is no such thing of China challenging those rights,” Hua said in a press briefing.
At the same time, DFA acting secretary Enrique Manalo said that the Department has not received any reports that Chinese vessels were conducting seismic surveys and research in the area.
“What I’m definitely sure of is China has reaffirmed that the Philippines has sovereign rights over Benham Rise area,” he told reporters during a briefing at the foreign office.
“It is in our interest and our duty that other countries observe those rights as stated in the UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). There is the right of innocent passage and we are not questioning that. But, certainly, any part that is within our sovereign rights is something that we should be prepared to monitor and if necessary protect,” he stressed.
Going back to Lorenzana… why did he have to raise the matter at a time when Digong’s efforts at strengthening our relations with China are at a delicate stage? And without even consulting him? Faulty judgment or pressure from somewhere?
In the past, Lorenzana has also contradicted certain statements made by Digong, particularly on matters affecting PH-US relations.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the proponent and supporters of an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong “are entitled to their own stupidity”.
Definitely, the same could be said of the members of the European Parliament who called for the release of one senator Leila de Lima from incarceration on charges of illegal drug offenses, criticized the government’s war against the drug menace and denounced the looming re-imposition of the death penalty in the country.
What do these meddlers think of themselves? That theirs is the parliament of the world? Butt out, will you? These are domestic affairs of our country which are none of your bloody business. You are violating a sacrosanct principle in the relations among nations that no less than the UN Charter which, in a way, may be considered the “world’s constitution”, recognizes.
Paragraph 7, Article 2 of the UN Charter states:
7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.”
Needless to say, this Charter provision also applies to the pesky witch-like character called UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
UK ENVOY AHMAD
An individual in our midst, a foreigner, who seems pretty determined to continue availing of his “entitlement to stupidity” is British ambassador Asif Ahmad. He occasionally writes articles in the opinion page of another newspaper. He calls his space “A Great British View”. How arrogant! His pomposity is matched only by his vainglorious immodesty! He may be “British” in nationality, but “Great” he definitely is not.
The wazzock (British slang for a stupid and annoying person) once again, for the nth time, criticized the government’s war against illegal drugs.
In a report published by another newspaper March 17, Ahmad allegedly said in a recent interview that “the Philippine National Police should stop its anti-drug operations and ‘look at new ways of operating’ to eradicate drugs in the country”.
I firmly believe it is time to have Ahmad summoned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and told in no uncertain terms to stop interfering in our domestic affairs or suffer the consequences of his annoying and arrogant behavior. He is not only making a fool of himself but also damaging the good relations between our two countries.
There is also a limit to the Filipinos’ patience and good manners towards foreigners who abuse our hospitality. Before long, Ahmad will begin to feel the disdain and the wrath of even the social climbers in the Makati crowd who seem to think that Westerners, especially diplomats (although Ahmad is of Pakistani or Indian descent), have a license to criticize and look down upon us.
Today is the 328th day of the tenth year of Jonas Burgos’ enforced disappearance.
The family and friends of Jonas hope that the Duterte administration will not be part of the continuing cover-up. The Burgos family implores Digong to haul the perpetrators to justice and bring Jonas back home even with the appointment of Gen. Eduardo Ano as AFP chief who was implicated in the abduction of Jonas almost ten years ago.
From an internet friend:
Many of us reach a point in our life where we make a transition from a parent to a grandparent. And while it may be a joyous time in our life, being a grandparent does come with its challenges. Comedy writer Gene Perret sums up life as a grandparent perfectly! Take a look at some of his hilarious quotes here:
= Grandchildren: the only people who can get more out of you than the IRS.
= Two things I dislike about my granddaughter – when she won’t take her afternoon nap, and when she won’t let me take mine.
= An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that and you start to age quickly.
= My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it too.
= On the seventh day, God rested. His grandchildren must have been out of town.