Notices sent to pork barrel scam accused, says DFA-A A +A
Sunday, October 27, 2013
THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Sunday that notices have been sent to 37 persons included in the Department of Justice's (DOJ) request for cancellation of passports.
"This is the first time that the DFA has received a cancellation request for such a large group of people," said DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez in a radio interview.
The DFA notice to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada and 34 others grants respondents five days to submit their written comments on the DOJ request to have their passports cancelled.
Hernandez said, the legal team of the DFA will assess and submit their recommendations to DFA Secretary Albert Del Rosario.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in her request for passport cancellation, tagged the 37 persons concerned as "threats to national security."
Hernandez said that Section 4 of Republic Act 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 provides for due process by providing the party subject of the request for revocation to present his side prior to decision by the DFA. The Philippine Passport Act prescribes conditions under which the state has the power to cancel an individual's passport. Under the law, the DFA may only cancel passports of fugitives, convicted criminals and those proven to have fraudulently acquired or tampered with the travel document.
The passport law also states that the foreign secretary is allowed to use his discretion to cancel a travel document in cases involving national security, public safety and health.
Hernandez clarified that for those who failed to submit their comments, it does not necessarily mean that their passports will be automatically cancelled.
But the decision to revoke or cancel shall be based on the legal assessment of the DFA legal team which shall consider the written comments submitted along with the arguments of the DOJ and the law applying on the matter.
Hernandez also said that the Foreign Affairs secretary said he will act based on the DFA mandate and what is found to be fair and reasonable. (Jun Sarmiento/Sunnex)