Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III questioned former Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario for using a diplomatic passport during his recent trip to Hong Kong.
In an interview at the Senate, Sotto questioned how a retired government official could still use a diplomatic passport, especially if he’s traveling for private purposes.
“Kapag retired official ka ba pwedeng naka-diplomatic passport ka pa rin? Kapag ako ‘di na ako senador pwede ko pa ba gamitin ‘yung diplomatic passport ko?” Sotto said.
“Kaya ko ito nasasabi… I am not saying it is wrong; I am asking why because in my case, I am a senator [and] I have never used my diplomatic passport going abroad unless it is with the President or on official business by the inter-parliamentary union,”
Under the law, diplomatic passports may only be used for “official missions” related to government work.
However, Del Rosario used his diplomatic passport during his travel to Hong Kong to attend the First Pacific’s board and shareholders meetings.
Meanwhile, the former DFA secretary is planning to file a complaint about what happened to him in Hong Kong which he called a “detention”.
On May 21, Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales was also barred from entering Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China.
Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales are both critics of China.
“If you follow the trend, the honorable Ombudsman was here, she went through the same experience, And the link to that experience which turned out to be consequential to us was the communique that we sent to ICC (International Criminal Court),” Del Rosario told reporters.