THE Department of Justice asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel the passport of Senator Panfilo Lacson as part of the intensified campaign to arrest him.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to intensify its manhunt operation against the lawmaker so he could face trial for the November 2000 murder of Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and Emmanuel Corbito.

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A warrant for his arrest was issued by the Manila RTC Branch 18 on the basis of the Information for two counts of murder filed by the DOJ against him last February 7.

"He must be pursued. We are looking for him. The NBI has intensified its efforts to go after him," de Lima said, citing that the lawmaker could no longer use as an excuse the alleged political persecution against him.

"Insofar as the Aquino administration is concerned we don't care about those political cases. He should confront the charges, he should present his evidence. He should be able to substantiate whatever defenses he has in connection with that double-murder case," she said.

The prosecution earlier asked the court to cancel Lacson's passport. But the senator argued that it is only the DFA which has the authority to issue, deny, restrict and cancel passports. (JCV/Sunnex)