'Bring him to me!': DFA hunts down employee allegedly selling passport appointment slots

"Bring him to my office."

This was Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.'s order after receiving reports that a man claiming to be an employee at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was selling passport appointment slots, and was running away with his victims' money.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (File photo/Malacañang)

Locsin said this after a Twitter user reached out to Locsin and the DFA via the said social media platform with screenshots of their conversation and social media posts of different Facebook users selling appointment slots.

The screenshots included Facebook posts and exchanges with a man who claimed to be an employee at the DFA.

Locsin acknowledged the tweet and asked DFA Undersecretary Dodo Dulay to find the man.

"@DFAPHL (DFA's Twitter handle) a supposed DFA Employee. Bring him to my office," he wrote Saturday, March 12.

In response, Dulay said the DFA had started coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNA) to catch the suspect.

"The PNP is on it, sir SFA (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) @teddyboylocsin. We’re finding this guy," he said.

Early Saturday, Locsin, again, recognized reports that recruiters of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were supposedly selling passport appointment slots to applicants.

"Exactly why I stopped recruitment agency slots and am working closely with my IT to catch more bloodsuckers. Passport renewal appointments are FREE," he said.

The DFA said it would no longer allot passport appointment slots for recruiters of OFWs starting March 14.

On Friday, the DFA, through the Office of Consular Affairs (OCA), filed a police blotter report and requested an investigation into the activities of Canferz Payment and Ticketing Center and Valesco-SMS Inc. for the alleged peddling of passport appointment slots through Facebook.

Canferz Payment and Ticketing Center allegedly offered passport appointment slots on Facebook and booked them under the account of Valesco-SMS Inc., a POEA-and DFA-accredited licensed recruitment agency (LRA).

The appointment slots offered to LRAs are intended for first-time OFW applicants only, considering their special needs and in line with the Government’s special accommodation extended to OFWs.

Upon investigation, the Department discovered that the privilege extended to DFA-accredited LRAs was abused as a means to sell passport appointment slots to non-eligible applicants illegally.

The DFA had revoked the accreditation and access of Valesco-SMS Inc. to the DFA OFW Portal and filed a police complaint, affixing the police blotter of one of its alleged victims.