By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent
In less than five minutes, the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed on May 17 the nomination of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano as the new secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
CA committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Sen. Panfilo Lacson described the proceedings as the “shortest confirmation hearing” of a Cabinet secretary.
During the confirmation hearing, which started at exactly 9 am (Manila time), Rep. Rodolfo Albano moved for Cayetano’s nomination. As no objection was raised, he banged the gavel and declared the new DFA secretary.
Cayetano would succeed former Foreign Sec. Perfecto Yasay Jr., whose ad interim appointment was rejected by the CA last March over a citizenship issue.
His confirmation came a week after President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to the DFA. He was appointed on May 10, a day after the expiration of the one-year ban to appoint losing candidates.
Cayetano was the defeated running mate of Duterte in the May 2016 elections.
In an interview, Cayetano admitted to reporters that with 19 years of being in the Senate and 25 years in governmenr service, he’s very sentimental on his “last day” as a senator because legislation has been his life’s work.
An emotional Cayetano said he would miss the chamber that has been his home for the past decades. He disclosed his brother even texted him earlier with crying emotions. He said his brother told him, “after 19 years of having a Cayetano in the Senate, it will now be gone.”
Lacson said the Senate would miss Cayetano. He said Cayetano is a dependable ally but could also be a “bad and irritating” enemy.
“You have witnessed the proceedings here. If you don’t belong to the same party, you’d find him irritating. But if you’re in the same party, then you can relax since he does the work of the majority,” related Cayetano.
CA chairman Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III who was Cayetano’s rival for the Senate presidency, said, “Whenever he is in the Senate, he always participates in the discussions. He is going to be a big loss,” he said of Cayetano who has been a member of the Senate since 2007.
Cayetano , who also served as Taguig congressman, said leaving the chamber is a mixed feeling. “It’s overwhelming humbling feeling,” he added. His sister, former senator Pia Cayetano, is now a member of the House of Representatives.
Cayetano has nothing but good words for his colleagues, some of whom had been his rivals and critics.
“I tell you this not out of generosity but out of sincerity. Our senators are really good. We don’t always agree with them. You know me, I get into arguments with some of them but I believe in their passion, sincerity, dedication to effect real change,” he said.