Locsin to ‘autopsy’ data breach in DFA passport system

Published January 14, 2019, 12:05 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Roy Mabasa and Raymund Antonio

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has vowed to “autopsy” those behind the alleged data breach in the passport system, as well as the “yellows” who orchestrated the existing service contract to manufacture the E-passport.

In a series of tweets over the week­end, Locsin suggested that a Senate probe should be held in order to unmask those who perpetrated the crime and for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file the appropriate charges.

“I will autopsy the yellows who did the passports deal alive. This is called evisceration,” Locsin said, apparently referring to people closely identified with the Aquino administration.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (PRESIDENTIAL PHOTOS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (PRESIDENTIAL PHOTOS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Locsin’s reactions came following reports that former private contractor, Oberthur, reportedly ran away with all the passport data when its contract was abruptly terminated to give way to the entry of APO Printing Unit, a tiny and little-known division under the Presiden­tial Communications Office (formerly the Office of the Press Secretary).

Oberthur is a French company that was hired by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) through bidding, to supply all the materials necessary to pro­duce the machine-readable electronic passports (MREPs).

The BSP was the official printer of Philippine passport from 2006 to 2015. Its agreement with the DFA was ter­minated three years ago to give way to APO’s entry.
Locsin said the current problem that the DFA is facing started under the administration of former President Glo­ria Macapagal-Arroyo and “got worse” under the term of President Benigno Aquino III.

“It will be solved by PRRD’s (Presi­dent Rodrigo Duterte) DFA under Loc­sin. The yellow crowd who perpetrated the passport fraud are in panic because we are gonna autopsy their crooked deal. Period,” he said.

He further assured that “no power on earth” could stop him from unravelling the truth behind the passport mess.

“I just want it fixed and not repeated,” the foreign affairs chief said.

Since Locsin assumed office last October, his Twitter account has been swamped with complaints from netizens about the new DFA regulation requiring those who are renewing their passports to present their birth certificates.

Many of those complaining are OFWs posted abroad who were not given prior notice about the new DFA requirement.

“Don’t pray. Prey on the guilty in 2 administrations I will f*** them dry. Notice the yellow panic? A Yellow woman was part of it,” Locsin said.

Senators back probe

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said an investigation into the reported passport data loss at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is in order to ensure that vital information would not be compro­mised in the future.

Lacson said it is high-time lawmak­ers look into the contracts entered into by the government with private com­panies and eventually puts important data at risk.
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he would be filing a resolution call­ing for a Senate inquiry into the case.

Charge them – VP

Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo wants the Department of For­eign Affairs’ former outsourced passport maker to be charged for taking the Fili­pinos’ passport data.

In her Sunday radio show, “BISErbi­syong Leni,” Robredo was asked if charg­es should be filed against the former contractor for Philippine passports.
“Oo naman. Kasi hindi bahagi ng pag-aari niya iyon (Yes, of course. Because that’s not part of his property),” Robredo, who served briefly as housing chief in the Duterte administration, said.

Yellow is the color of the Liberal Party, of which Robredo is the chair­person.