Palace defends DOJ on passport issue
MANILA, Philippines -- Seeking the cancellation of the passports of those implicated in the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam (PDAF) is a prerogative of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Malacañang said yesterday.
“The actions of Cabinet secretaries, as alter-egos of the President, must be seen... with the so-called presumption of regularity. They do not need to always inform the President on what they have to do, it is up to their discretion and their understanding as well as the mandate of their departments,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said.
The DOJ, according to Coloma, “is doing its mandate and there is a process being followed regarding that.”
The DOJ came under fire from several lawmakers for requesting the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to cancel the passports of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. and 34 others charged in connection with the pork barrel scam, saying the move was premature.
In an interview over dzRH on Friday, Coloma said Cabinet secretaries regularly consult the President and they are given guidance on what they should do.
He said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima invoked the Philippine Passport Act as basis for the request to the DFA.
He said the DOJ only wanted to ensure the “physical presence” of those accused during the prosecution of the cases amid reports that some of them had left the country.
The DOJ is following the law and the required processes, he added.