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CA panel OKs Cayetano's DFA chief nomination without objections

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano speaks during the universal periodic review of the Philippines by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on May 8, 2017 at the UN offices in Geneva. The Philippines' record is reviewed by the UN human rights council for the first time since the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been accused of massive violations in his so-called drug war. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED 10:21 a.m.) — The congressional Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday approved the nomination of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano as the country's top diplomat.

The CA committee on foreign affairs recommended to the plenary the confirmation of Cayetano as the new secretary of foreign affairs.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chair of the CA committee on foreign affairs, said that Cayetano's confirmation hearing was the fastest ever, according to a report from The STAR.

Cayetano was confirmed even before he delivered his opening statement.

The new foreign affairs secretary said that he would have to make adjustments following his conversion from a politician to a diplomat.

"I will continue to speak kung necessary but not in the political manner that was available to me in the Senate because as chief diplomat, kailangan ko rin isaalang-alang 'yung departamento at yung relationships natin sa ibang bansa. So in other words, I will be using a different language, a more diplomatic language," Cayetano said in an ambush interview.

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Cayetano cited his participation during the Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland last week as a sample of his diplomatic approach.

The senator led the Philippine delegation during the review, presenting the human rights situation in the country before member states of the UN.

"Nakita n'yo naman 'yung pagpresent natin ng human rights record natin sa Geneva 'di ba. We are able to say what the president wants to say but in a diplomatic setting and a diplomatic language," Cayetano said.

RELATED: Cayetano uses restrictive EJK definition, experts say

President Rodrigo Duterte announced the appointment of Cayetano, his former running mate and close ally, immediately after the one-year ban on the appointment of losing bets in the May 9, 2016 elections was lifted.

The committee earlier rejected the appointment of Perfecto Yasay Jr. as secretary of foreign affairs after lying about his citizenship status. — Patricia Lourdes Viray


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