Citing the law, Robredo insists Locsin can’t just revoke diplomatic passports
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo asserted Tuesday that Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. cannot just revoke diplomatic passports issued to the nation’s former diplomats because a law prevents him from doing so.
Robredo, who is a lawyer by profession, cited Section 8(b) of Republic Act 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act, which, she stressed, provides concrete grounds for the cancellation of diplomatic passports. She said none of those reasons was applicable to former DFA chief Albert del Rosario’s case.
Robredo, a duly-elected official of the country, was at the receiving end of a tongue-lashing by Locsin, a presidential appointee, over issues on the revocation of diplomatic passports given to former DFA officials.
“Nakalagay ano ba iyong basis ng cancellation, 1, 2, 3. Iyong number one […] kung convicted ka of a criminal offense, kung considered kang fugitive from justice, o number three, kung fraudulent iyong acquisition mo ng passport o tampered ito,” she told reporters in Naga City.
“Kinansel iyong mga (diplomatic) passports, ‘di ba, ano iyong basis ng cancellation? Wala yata sa 1, 2, 3 na iyon,” she added.
After Del Rosario was denied entry to Hong Kong last June 21, Locsin said they will revoke all diplomatic passports issued to ex-diplomats to prevent holders from abusing it.
Robredo consequently said DFA should reconsider its move, but Locsin called her “boba” (stupid) arguing that the reason for revoking all diplomatic passports given to former foreign affairs officials was precisely to avoid singling out Del Rosario,
The DFA chief even urged that someone “give her (Robredo) a brain.”
Locsin, however, eventually apologized to Robredo.
But Robredo just shrugged off Locsin’s invectives, saying there are more pressing issues to talk about like the fate of the 22 fishermen involved in the Recto Bank incident.
Robredo, meanwhile, explained that her reaction to the issue was based on R.A. 8239.
“Ito iyong listahan ng mga tao na entitled sa diplomatic passports […] President and all former presidents. Number two, Vice President and all former vice presidents. Parang, number six yata, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, nakalagay ambassadors,” she noted.
“Doon sa ambassadors, sa Section 3(g), nakalagay sino ba iyong kino-consider na ambassador. Ang sinasabi niya, ang ambassadors, ang kinokonsiderang ambassadors, iyong lahat na na-appoint at lahat na nagsilbi as ambassadors, extraordinary plenipotentiary,” she added. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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