By Roy Mabasa and Raymund Antonio
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has vowed to “autopsy” those behind the alleged data breach in the passport system, as well as the “yellows” who orchestrated the existing service contract to manufacture the E-passport.
In a series of tweets over the weekend, Locsin suggested that a Senate probe should be held in order to unmask those who perpetrated the crime and for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file the appropriate charges.
“I will autopsy the yellows who did the passports deal alive. This is called evisceration,” Locsin said, apparently referring to people closely identified with the Aquino administration.
Locsin’s reactions came following reports that former private contractor, Oberthur, reportedly ran away with all the passport data when its contract was abruptly terminated to give way to the entry of APO Printing Unit, a tiny and little-known division under the Presidential Communications Office (formerly the Office of the Press Secretary).
Oberthur is a French company that was hired by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) through bidding, to supply all the materials necessary to produce the machine-readable electronic passports (MREPs).
The BSP was the official printer of Philippine passport from 2006 to 2015. Its agreement with the DFA was terminated three years ago to give way to APO’s entry.
Locsin said the current problem that the DFA is facing started under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and “got worse” under the term of President Benigno Aquino III.
“It will be solved by PRRD’s (President Rodrigo Duterte) DFA under Locsin. The yellow crowd who perpetrated the passport fraud are in panic because we are gonna autopsy their crooked deal. Period,” he said.
He further assured that “no power on earth” could stop him from unravelling the truth behind the passport mess.
“I just want it fixed and not repeated,” the foreign affairs chief said.
Since Locsin assumed office last October, his Twitter account has been swamped with complaints from netizens about the new DFA regulation requiring those who are renewing their passports to present their birth certificates.
Many of those complaining are OFWs posted abroad who were not given prior notice about the new DFA requirement.
“Don’t pray. Prey on the guilty in 2 administrations I will f*** them dry. Notice the yellow panic? A Yellow woman was part of it,” Locsin said.
Senators back probe
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said an investigation into the reported passport data loss at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is in order to ensure that vital information would not be compromised in the future.
Lacson said it is high-time lawmakers look into the contracts entered into by the government with private companies and eventually puts important data at risk.
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he would be filing a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry into the case.
Charge them – VP
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo wants the Department of Foreign Affairs’ former outsourced passport maker to be charged for taking the Filipinos’ passport data.
In her Sunday radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni,” Robredo was asked if charges should be filed against the former contractor for Philippine passports.
“Oo naman. Kasi hindi bahagi ng pag-aari niya iyon (Yes, of course. Because that’s not part of his property),” Robredo, who served briefly as housing chief in the Duterte administration, said.
Yellow is the color of the Liberal Party, of which Robredo is the chairperson.