SENATOR Leila M. de Lima wants a Senate committee to look into the appointment of foreign nationals in public office after Chinese national Michael Yang identified himself as the President’s economic adviser.
Ms. De Lima file Senate Resolution No. 922 which seeks to investigate Mr. Yang’s appointment as presidential economic adviser and determine the extent of his “official engagement” in the current administration.
“The independence of the State from foreign control necessitates that the questionable citizenship of a presidential adviser be authenticated, and the nature and scope of his influence over foreign policy be fully disclosed,” she said in a statement on Friday, Oct. 19.
Republic Act No. 9225 or the Philippine Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 says appointed public officials cannot be a citizen of another country.
Mr. Yang, also known as Yang Hong Ming, has been publicly issuing business cards which identify him as the President’s economic adviser, using the official seal of the Office of the President of the Philippines and the official logo of his firm, Full Win Company.
He has also been reported to have hosted Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade in his office as presidential economic adviser.
On Oct. 4, President Rodrigo R. Duterte talked about Mr. Yang’s close relationship with Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua during a speech before the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association. He also disclosed that Yang was part of the Philippine delegation to China.
“In conformity with the requirement exacted from public officers to at all times maintain allegiance and loyalty to the Philippines, there is a need to inquire into the citizenship of presidential appointees as public office held by a foreign national is inimical to the public interest and welfare,” said Ms. De Lima.
She pointed out that there is a need to determine the authenticity of Mr. Yang’s appointment as presidential economic adviser, his relationship with Mr. Duterte, and the extent of his access to sensitive state information.
“More stringent penalties must be imposed upon any foreign national who willfully, knowingly and conspicuously usurps into public office,” she said. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras