MANILA— It’s only a matter of days before incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano takes his oath as chief diplomat but will it be the last time he sees his colleagues in the Senate?
“This isn’t goodbye. Maybe farewell in the meantime,” Cayetano said in his valedictory speech in the Senate plenary on Wednesday.
Cayetano told his colleagues that the doors of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) would be open and urged his colleagues to “feel free” to seek his assistance when needed.
“Please feel free, my dear colleagues, to call on the DFA. Anything we can do to assist, we will try to. We will also need your help in fixing the passport processing queues,” he added.
Cayetano, meanwhile, vowed to help fulfill the “Filipino dream” which includes seeing a country where Filipinos no longer have to go abroad to fulfill their dreams.
“My job in the coming days would be focused on the protection, welfare, convenience, comfort of the OFWs; to continue creating a Filipino dream wherein they do not have to go abroad to be able to fulfill their dreams for their family,” he said.
In closing, Cayetano also apologized to colleagues he may have orally hurt during Senate debates.
“Kung meron man akong nasaktan o napersonal sa mga debate, please accept my apologies (If there was anyone I hurt during debates, please accept my apologies),” Cayetano said.
“I don’t promise not to do it again but this time I’ll do it as a diplomat so I’ll be much kinder but please also guide me,” he added.
In an interview with reporters, Senate Pres. Aquilino Pimentel III said that Cayetano still remained a senator since the Senate has consented his appointment.
“It’s like telling Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, go ahead and appoint him. If he wants to attend our sessions, he’s qualified and allowed but when he takes his oath, that makes him Secretary,” Pimentel said.
Before getting CA’s nod, Cayetano was chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. Cayetano was also Pres. Duterte’s running mate in the May 2016 presidential elections.