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Ball is in DoJ’s court, DFA says of Senator Lacson’s travel papers

MANILA, Philippines—“We rest our case.”

With that, Foreign Undersecretary for Administration Rafael E. Seguis on Thursday indicated the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had done its part in the government inquiry into the travel document Sen. Panfilo Lacson used to return to the country after a year in hiding abroad.

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“For the record, I have already formally informed (Justice Secretary Leila de Lima) concerning the travel document referred to (in a March 31 letter to the Department of Justice)… That speaks for itself,” Seguis told the Inquirer.

In the letter, Seguis had said that, among other things, Travel Document No. 34258, which Lacson allegedly presented on arrival at Mactan International Airport on March 26, was “still with the DFA and has not yet been sent out” to any Philippine embassy or consulate abroad.

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Seguis cited the DFA’s property division as the source of the information.

Responding to the DoJ’s “inquiries on the matter of the alleged travel documents used by Sen. Panfilo Lacson to enter the Philippines,” Seguis also disclosed the following:

“The Philippine consulates in Hong Kong, Macau, Xiamen and Guangzhou have denied issuing a travel document to Senator Lacson;” and

“The said outposts have also reported that Travel Document No. 34258 is not within the series of Philippine travel documents issued to them.”

On Thursday, Seguis added that “up to now, I have not seen that so-called travel document (used by Lacson).”

Lacson has insisted his travel papers were authentic.

“The travel document that I used is still with me. I have no doubt it is authentic. It was issued by a consul assigned to the country where I exited to go back to our country,” he has said.

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Lacson did not name the consul or the country he flew in from.

The other day, Felipe Cariño, executive director of the DFA’s Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), told reporters that Lacson’s travel document was a fake.

The authentic document bearing the same number was never issued by the DFA-OCA, Cariño said.

For Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino, meanwhile, Lacson’s case “raises national security questions, like who has the capability, know-how and connections to fake official documents.”

Palatino warned that “foreign governments might become more strict about honoring Philippine travel documents which could hurt overseas Filipino workers.”

“The Mafia in the DFA must be named and dismantled immediately,” he said.

League of Filipino Students chair Terry Ridon said that “admission is one thing, but with President Aquino continuing to play footsies with Ping Lacson, we are uncertain whether the senator will be made accountable for falsifying a public document.”

“Well, the KKK has struck again,” Ridon added, referring to what the initials stand for—kaklase, kaibigan, kabarilan(classmates, friends, shooting buddies) of Mr. Aquino.

Sonny Melencio, chair of Partido ng Lakas ng Masa, said that “what Senator Lacson did could be considered criminal. And if there was collusion with DFA personnel, those involved should be investigated and charged in court.”

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TAGS: Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, fake documents, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, travel papers
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