Locsin on diplomatic passport row: ‘Go to court’

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MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday urged those who are questioning his order cancelling all courtesy passports to bring the matter to the courts.

Locsin said he cancelled the courtesy passports after former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario was barred from entering Hong Kong and eventually deported despite carrying a courtesy diplomatic passport.

"It's not covered by law. That's their interpretation which is fine. What they should do is go to court," said Locsin on ANC's Headstart.

Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs had issued 172 courtesy passports.

"They are cancelled. I already issued the order. Blue passports, with all their immunities, confined exclusively to serving ambassadors or special envoys or anyone that I decide will be on a special mission for that specific mission," he said.

Locsin said the proliferation of courtesy passports devalues the passports of incumbent ambassadors.

He said Del Rosario properly used his diplomatic passport by going to the DFA and asking it to be re-validated. However, he was still barred from entering Hong Kong.

"I said this kind of incident, in supposing it has been used by an irresponsible person precisely to provoke diplomatic row, I don't want this to happen again. Therefore, I am canceling this courtesy passports and then I'm gonna come up with stricter rules," he said.

Del Rosario earlier said courtesy passports are allowed under law and could not be cancelled outright.

The DFA chief said he did not ask a formal explanation from Hong Kong on why it denied entry to Del Rosario.

"No, I will never do that because if any country questions our immigration policy, however bastos we would want to be, I would really resent it. That's a sovereign function," he said.

Before Del Rosario, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was initially barred from from entering Hong Long while on a vacation trip with her family in May. She was later cleared but decided to just return to Manila.

Del Rosario and Morales, along with a group of Filipino fishermen, had filed a communication against China's President Xi Jinping for alleged crimes against humanity over Chinese incursions in the South China Sea.

Source From:https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/03/19/locsin-on-diplomatic-passport-row-go-to-court

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