By Noreen Jazul and Vanne Terrazola
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. passed away on Friday, June 12. He was 73.
The former DFA secretary’s passing was confirmed by his wife, Cecile Joaquin Yasay on Facebook.
“My husband, my partner, my best friend – left us today at 7:26 a.m.,” she wrote.
Cecile said her husband died of pneumonia “caused by the recurrence of his cancer, not COVID.”
“Jun Yasay, you are loved. We will miss you lots,” she added.
In a tweet, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. paid tribute to Yasay
“Jun Yasay has donned the garment of immortality,” text said. More importantly, it makes him finally impervious to pain. He recommended me for my UN job. He hurt no one and helped everyone he could. He did what many fighting tyranny had to: Shield themselves with US law,” Locsin posted on Twitter.
“Because the United States is the only country – and thankfully, the greatest military power in history – dedicated to liberty at home and everywhere abroad, it is imperilled. Thank you, America, for shielding him while he fought for Filipino liberty. May his detractors burn in hell,” Locsin wrote.
Malacañang offered its deep sympathies over Yasay’s death.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones of former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., who died today, June 12,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
“As we pay tribute and honor Secretary Yasay, we offer our sincerest prayers to the Almighty to grant him eternal repose,” he said.
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) also confirmed Yasay’s passing on Facebook.
Yasay was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Christian University (PCU), which is an affiliate of the UCCP.
“We deeply regret the news of the passing of the current Chairperson of PCU Board of Trustees and former DFA Secretary Atty. Perfecto Yasay Jr.,” UCCP said.
Loved ones and friends likewise expressed grief over Yasay’s passing.
Anna Joaquin Matsui, a relative of Yasay, wrote: “To many, you were Secretary Perfecto Yasay, or Chairman of SEC, but to me you were simply Tito Jappy. I will miss those morning coffee sessions where we tackled the world’s problems. I will miss talking to you about history and politics and world events. We love you dearly and you will be sorely missed. Give Dad a hug from me. Love you Tito Jap. Till we meet again.”
Writer Abdon Balde Jr. wrote: “It is with great sadness that I receive this morning the news of the passing of my friend Jun from life to memories.”
The former Securities and Exchange commissioner was appointed by President Duterte to the DFA post in June 2016, but his appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments over his supposed inconsistent statements about his American citizenship in March 2017.
President Duterte defended Yasay, his longtime friend, insisting he is a Filipino citizen despite being an asylum-seeker in the United States during the martial law period. They were dormitory roommates when they were studying law years ago. (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)