Aquino gave De Lima go signal for seeking passport cancellations


President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino was notified of the Department of Justice’s decision to ask for the cancellation of the passports of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and 34 others charged with plunder in the Office of the Ombudsman.

“The President is aware of it, yes. Secretary de Lima informed the President,” said Palace spokeswoman Abigail Valte, when asked at a news briefing on Friday if Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s action had been “given the go signal by the President.”

Valte, a lawyer, denied that this was part the administration’s way of putting pressure on the three senators, who are all members of the opposition.

“So, again, as prosecutors, it is perfectly understandable that the Department of Justice would undertake measures within the law to make sure that the respondents face the charges against them,” Valte said.

While the ground invoked by De Lima was “national security” Valte said, “I don’t think that the justice department classified them as threats to national security. I understand that the ground that is being invoked is in the interest of national security.”

“You know, as prosecutors in this particular case, they are expected… to undertake any and all measures within the law to make sure that the respondents face the charges against them. However, given that the cancellation is being sought under a particular law and under a different department, it will have to go through the proper evaluation,” she added.

In asking the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel the passports of the three senators and their fellow respondents, De Lima told Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis that there was “sufficient basis in fact and law to cancel the passports.”

She cited the Passport Act, which states that “in the interest of national security, public safety and public health, the secretary or any of the authorized consular officers may, after due hearing and in their proper discretion, refuse to issue a passport, or restrict its use or withdraw or cancel a passport.”

She said the government considered graft and corruption a national security issue  “because it saps public resources, undermines the morale of the civil service and affects the delivery of basic services.”

The crime, she added, “breeds socio-political instability as scandals degenerate into crisis situations that undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the government.”

Valte said in evaluating the DOJ’s request, the foreign office would also “be giving due consideration to, or at least receiving the opposition or the comment of, the persons who are subject of the application.”

She said the justice department had to “resort to means that would allow them to prosecute the case with less delay as possible” because several respondents were able to leave the country in the absence of formal charges filed against them in the Sandiganbayan.

“Given the gravity of the allegations that have been leveled against the respondents, we understood the step taken by the DOJ,” Valte said, adding, “Given that there are respondents that are said to have left the country while the charges are still at the Office of the Ombudsman, you can’t blame the DOJ because it wants to make sure that the case proceeds smoothly.”

Related Stories:


DOJ asks DFA to cancel passport of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla

DFA to ask Enrile, 2 other senators to comment on passport cancellation request

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

Copyright © 2015,

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate: c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • At least 7 more cyclones until end of 2015–Pagasa
  • Joel Villanueva resigns from Tesda
  • Ricketts asks Sandigan to quash graft case, puts blame on deputy
  • Ombudsman orders dismissal of Junjun Binay
  • 7 Vietnamese fishers arrested in West Philippine Sea
  • Sports

  • PH with ‘good chance’ of hosting Women’s Club World c’ships—FIVB exec
  • Djokovic: No sacrifice, no Slams for Chinese men tennis players
  • Mapua dismantles EAC, joins Final Four playoff logjam
  • Teodoro, Pontejos backcourt an asset for Meneses
  • NFL: Dallas to unleash bad-boy Hardy on Brady and Patriots
  • Lifestyle

  • Imee Marcos’ mag cover draws mixed reactions from netizens
  • Pinoy and Asian men love floral scents–make your own, too
  • PH bet Ann Lorraine Colis wins Miss Globe 2015
  • Hindy designs a farm life
  • The breast cancer survivors wore black–and happy colors, too
  • Entertainment

  • Get ready for One Night of Queen in Manila
  • Yaya Dub attends Lifehouse concert with heavy make-up and glasses
  • ‘Twilight’ author says new book is ‘not a real book’
  • Disney’s ‘Moana’ finds her voice
  • Melai Cantiveros, celebrities pay tribute to Elizabeth Ramsey
  • Business

  • IPO proposals of Metro Retail, DATEM approved
  • Hotel InterCon in Makati to shut down by yearend
  • Senate ratifies bicam committee report on tax incentive bill
  • Roxas invests in Cotabato coconut facility
  • IMI to make car cameras for Renesas
  • Technology

  • ASUS PH announces new ZenFone line-up in ZenFestival Manila
  • Blue sky and red ice at Pluto, NASA spacecraft discovers
  • On-demand app lets owners book rides for pets
  • Facebook says no to ‘dislike’ button but tests ‘sad’ and ‘angry’ ones
  • Studies say 1 out of 3 of young men in China to die from smoking
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, October 9, 2015
  • The lion
  • Walk through Bohol’s past
  • Mercurial poll ratings and the public mood
  • Felix Y. Manalo
  • Global Nation

  • Van used in kidnapping of Italian traced to Taguig resident
  • Gazmin: Warship deployment in South China Sea to test freedom of navigation
  • PH joins conflict-torn countries in Global Impunity Index Top 5
  • Australia in talks to send refugees to the Philippines
  • Vulnerable nations launch ‘V20′ to fight climate change

    • Apec delegates enjoy Ilonggo hospitality

      Read More

    • Man denies trying to murder wife

      Read More

    • Reservists send ‘care packages’ for soldiers in Spratlys, students in Pag-asa Island

      Read More

    • Historic South Carolina floods: Heavy rain, hundreds rescued

      Read More

    • More debris but no word on fate of ship lost off Bahamas

      Read More

    • Hope dims for finding survivors of Guatemala mudslide that killed 114 people

      Read More

    • Typhoon roars into south China; tens of thousands evacuated

      Read More

    • Pope asserts marriage is forever at start of family meeting

      Read More

    • Philippines suspects week-long haze from Indonesia fires

      Read More

    • Gov’t doing little for kids risking lives in PH gold mines—group

      Read More

    • Reaching malnourished children in remote communities of Lanao del Sur

      Read More

    • Singapore motorists driving less amid high costs, congestion

      Read More

    • Pope Francis meets Fidel Castro after warning against ideology

      Read More

    • Pope Francis praises US-Cuba detente as model for world

      Read More

    • FULL TEXT: Aquino meets Inquirer Multimedia; tackles INC, love life, others

      Read More