THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it has cancelled the regular and diplomatic passport of Senator Panfilo Lacson who remained hiding after he was implicated in the Dacer-Corbito case.

In a statement, the DFA said the move was in response to an order issued by the Manila City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 18, as well as to the letter-request from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

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The court’s order issued last July 23 said: “The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Secretary of DFA are directed to take the proper steps in order that Senator Lacson, who is alleged to be out of the country, may be brought back to the Philippines pursuant to the warrant of arrest issued by this court so that he can be dealt with in accordance with law.”

Prior to this, then DOJ secretary Agnes Devanadera wrote the DFA on February 9 asking for the cancellation of Lacson’s passport.

Devanadera’s successor, Leila de Lima, also reiterated the DOJ’s request in another letter dated August 5.

The DOJ said Lacson can be considered a fugitive after he refused to face the charges against him and even fled the country before the filing of the double-murder case.

“At the time he left the country, Senator Lacson knew about the impending filing of criminal charges against him for the murder of Salvador “Bubby” Dacer, a public relations practitioner, and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito. Also, despite it being reported in all the newspapers that a warrant of arrest was issued against him, Senator Lacson refuses to return to the Philippines. In view thereof, Senator Lacson may already be considered a fugitive from justice, thus, warranting the cancellation of his passport pursuant to the aforecited provision of the Philippine Passport Act of 1996,” the DOJ letter-request read.

Aside from the Justice department, the Dacer family has also written the DFA through their legal counsel Ongkiko Manhit Custodio and Acorda Law Offices, requesting the cancellation of the senator’s passport.

The DFA said it notified Lacson last August 12, through his residence address and Senate office and his legal counsel, regarding the official orders and letter-requests.

“The Department conveyed to him and his legal counsel that should the Senator or his counsel wish to present his views to the DFA, he or his counsel may communicate with the DFA Office of Consular Affairs.”

The agency meantime admitted that it has not received any response from Lacson or his counsel yet.

The Manila court issued an arrest warrant against Lacson on February 5.

Lacson left the country on January 5 before the court resolved his pending motion for judicial determination of probable cause. He has not been seen since then. (AH/Sunnex)