DFA to cancel all diplomatic passports issued to ex-top diplomats
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday said it will cancel all courtesy diplomatic passports issued to former top diplomats.
“The DFA Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) will be issuing an order shortly, canceling all courtesy diplomatic passports, and requiring their surrender for physical cancellation,” a statement issued by the DFA read on Saturday.
“The practice of issuing courtesy diplomatic passports to former DFA Secretaries and ambassadors shall henceforth be discontinued,” it further read.
This comes after former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario said he notified the DFA that he will use his diplomatic passport for his supposed business trip to Hong Kong.
However, the former DFA chief was barred from entering the country upon landing arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport.
According to the DFA, Del Rosario was granted a diplomatic passport by his successor, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. on Dec. 20, 2016.
The statement also read that the DFA Office of Consular Affairs-Diplomatic and Official Passport Section revalidated Del Rosario’s diplomatic passport, as provided by Section 14 of the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 and in accordance with existing regulations.
“Since the issuance of the 1993 Department Order, diplomatic passports have been issued to former DFA secretaries as well as ambassadors as a matter of courtesy, not to confer them with diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, but only to accord them the usual port courtesies at immigration points abroad,” the DFA’s statement read.
Both Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo questioned Del Rosario’s use of the diplomatic passport, saying that he may have misused it. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)