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EX-DFA CHIEF DEL ROSARIO'S CLAIM REFUTED

Locsin: Canceling courtesy diplomatic passports isn’t unlawful

/ 12:30 PM June 24, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Canceling courtesy diplomatic passports is not unlawful but is a move to protect national honor, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Monday.

“It is not ‘unlawful’; It is a courtesy to those who have ceased doing the job requiring blue passports,” Locsin said over Twitter on Monday.

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“We don’t want to have them out there dishonored by foreign immigration by rejection. Just protecting national honor, sir. We may restore it (diplomatic passport) but insist it be the only passport,” Locsin stressed, in reaction to former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario’s statement that the move is “illegal” and “unlawful”.

READ: DFA to cancel all diplomatic passports issued to ex-top diplomats

Del Rosario,  who was using his diplomatic passport, was barred entry to Hong Kong last week.

READ: Ex-DFA chief denied entry to Hong Kong 

According to the DFA, it issued a diplomatic passport to Del Rosario in December 2016 as approved by then Secretary Perfecto Yasay by virtue of Department Order 12-1993.

Locsin clarified that the said order provides issuance of diplomatic passports by courtesy to former DFA secretaries, among other government officials.

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“[R.A. 8283…has list of persons who MAY be issued diplomatic passports. It did not include former SFAs (Secretary of Foreign Affairs but [R.A. 8283] said [the] President and [the] SFA issue diplomatic passports to other persons not listed who are ON OFFICIAL MISSION abroad,” Locsin said in a separate tweet.

Locsin said the DFA is still issuing courtesy diplomatic passports but clarified that said passports “do not grant diplomatic immunity.”

“Del Rosario’s granted by Yasay. 18 June 2019, he applied with Consular; granted revalidation for the stated purpose of a business trip to HK,” he said.

“Therefore until such time as we can reconcile the guidelines, all courtesy diplo[matic] passports are deemed cancelled. DFA will issue circular in time. Okay, that’s clear,” he added. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)

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TAGS: Albert del Rosario, DFA, diplomatic passport, latest news, Teddy Locsin
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