By Hannah Torregoza
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Monday said he was saddened by the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) move to cancel all diplomatic passports issued as courtesy to former secretaries and ambassadors, saying such action shows the extent of how the government bows to China’s whims.
The DFA’s directive came after Hong Kong denied foreign affairs secretary Albert Del Rosario entry after showing a diplomatic passport.
Drilon said the Philippine Passports Act provides that former DFA secretaries and ambassadors are granted the privilege of a diplomatic passport.
“Precisely, it’s courtesy. The courtesy is extended to retired ambassadors. The DFA secretary is a former ambassador,” Drilon said in an interview with reporters.
“I am saddened by that act. Mukhang kinakampihan pa natin ang China (It seems we are taking China’s stand),” the minority chief added.
“But China is a sovereign country and has the right to exclude anyone from its territory. That’s the prerogative of a sovereign nation, in the same manner that we have the prerogative to bar the entry of any one,” Drilon pointed out.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin, Jr. earlier ordered the cancellation of all courtesy diplomatic passports issued to former top diplomats saying the incident involving del Rosario signals the need for DFA to clear up the list.
Locsin lamented that courtesy diplomatic passports are often issued to “friends.”
“Glad this happened. It is a chance to clean up the list. Many issued to ‘friends.’ What kind of legal category is that? What next?” Locsin wrote on Twitter.