FACT CHECK: Did Rappler say Yasay got U.S. passport in 2006?
MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr on Wednesday, March 8, said he was denying a Rappler report that supposedly said he "was issued a passport in 2006" bearing the number 121190223.
During his confirmation hearing Wednesday, Yasay told the Commission on Appointments (CA): "When I denied having an American passport, I denied the allegations that came out in media, particularly in Rappler, that I was issued a US passport in 2006 bearing the number that Congresswoman Sato had mentioned, which I do not have any personal knowledge about, and I said that consistently."
First, during the last CA hearing on February 22, Yasay said that based on his personal knowledge, "I never held any American passport." He used the word "any." He was under oath.
Days later, in an interview with ANC's Karen Davila on March 6, Yasay admitted, "I had an American passport, but that has already been returned together with my naturalization certificate." (READ: Yasay lied under oath, now admits owning U.S. passport)
Second, Rappler never reported that Yasay "was issued a passport in 2006" as he claimed. It was Yasay himself who specified the year 2006.
What we instead said in our story dated January 10 was: "In the Philippines, two other sources confirmed that Yasay used to own a US passport. Rappler found out that he had a US passport with No. 121190223, which he supposedly used in travels from 2007 to 2009."
For this, we cited two independent sources with access to Philippine immigration records.
Nowhere did we indicate 2006 as being the year when his US passport was issued.
In December 2016, Rappler also requested for a copy of Yasay's travel records from the Bureau of Immigration (BI), but the BI did not release this information. BI sent us a memo saying that travel records "are considered private in nature and must be exempted" from President Rodrigo Duterte's executive order on Freedom of Information.
On Wednesday afternoon, Yasay was unanimously rejected by the Commission on Appointments. – Rappler.com