Sotto questions Del Rosario’s use of diplomatic passport
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has questioned former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s use of a diplomatic passport for traveling abroad.
“Kapag retired official ka ba pwedeng naka-diplomatic passport ka pa rin? Kapag ako ‘di na ako senador pwede ko pa ba gamitin ‘yung diplomatic passport ko?” Sotto asked during an interview at the Senate.
Earlier Friday, Del Rosario was stopped and held by authorities at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) “despite using a Philippine diplomatic status passport.” He was supposed to attend meetings of First Pacific’s board and shareholders in China’s special administrative region.
Sotto said he never used his diplomatic passport for traveling abroad unless it is authorized by the President.
“Kaya ko ito nasasabi… I am not saying it is wrong, I am asking why, because in my case, I am a senator [and] I have never used my diplomatic passport going abroad unless it is with the President or on official business by the inter parliamentary union,” Sotto said.
Sotto also cited that issuance of a diplomatic passport does not include former cabinet secretaries as stated in the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.
Under the law, the diplomatic passport may be used for “official mission or official travel.” (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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