In this June 12, 2019 photo, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. delivers his remarks during a simple program on the occasion of Philippine Independence Day at the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Canceling diplomatic passports 'not unlawful' — Locsin
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - June 24, 2019 - 12:29pm

MANILA, Philippines — Canceling all courtesy diplomatic passports is not unlawful, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Monday.

This is in response to former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who said revoking all diplomatic passports issued to former foreign affairs secretaries and envoys would be unlawful.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier announced that it would be issuing an order canceling all courtesy diplomatic passports after Del Rosario was denied entry to Hong Kong, a semiautonomous part of China.

"It is not 'unlawful'; it is a courtesy to those who have ceased doing the job requiring blue passports. We don't want to have them out there dishonored by foreign immigration by rejection," Locsin said on Twitter.

Del Rosario was carrying a diplomatic or a blue passport when he was barred from entering Hong Kong and was detained at the airport for hours.

The former top diplomat also has a regular or a brown passport but he used his blue passport when he flew to Hong Kong. Del Rosario was supposed to attend the board and shareholders meeting of the First Pacific Company Limited.

Locsin clarified that under Republic Act 8293 or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996, the president and the foreign affairs secretary may issue diplomatic passports to other persons not listed who are on an official mission abroad.

The DFA chief stressed that RA 8293 did not provide for the issuance of diplomatic passports by courtesy.

Del Rosario was granted a courtesy diplomatic passport in December 2016 by virtue of Department Order No. 12-1993 under the term of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.

This courtesy diplomatic passport was revalidated last June 18, as provided by the Philippine Passport Act, for a business trip to Hong Kong.

Locsin insisted that the cancellation of courtesy diplomatic passports to former ambassadors seeks to "prevent rejections of our diplomatic passports with impunity."

"It was properly issued to him. He was singled out for its rejection. I would never single him out by taking his courtesy blue passport back," Locsin tweeted.

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