The Department of Foreign Affairs may grant the request of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd to cancel the passport of retired police officer Arturo Lascañas provided he is declared by the secretary as a fugitive from justice.
Foreign Affairs apokesman Robespierre Bolivar said that based on Philippine Passport Act, a passport may be cancelled upon submission of a court order, warrant of arrest or a Department of Justice (DoJ) declaration that the holder is a fugitive from justice.
Aguirre yesterday said he would ask Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to cancel the passport of Lascañas after he ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to hunt the self-confessed triggerman allegedly behind the killing of the late journalist Jun Pala in 2003.
Lascañas claimed he was a triggerman of the “Davao Death Squad” allegedly formed by Rodrigo Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City.
Aquirre instructed the NBI to coordinate with the International Police Organization (Interpol) in locating Lascañas, who left Manila for Singapore last April but has yet to return home.
Lascañas faces three warrants of arrest, Aguirre said.
Judge Retrina Fuentes of the Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 10 issued a warrant for Lascañas’ arrest last June 5 after criminal cases were filed by the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office on June 1.
Lascañas was charged with frustrated murder and murder stemming from the two attempts on Pala’s life in June 2002 and April 2003, respectively, and his assassination on September 6, 2003.
“Since he is abroad and since there is no indication that he will return, we are constrained to request the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel his Philippine Passport,” Aguirre said in a statement.
“I will be formalizing a request with Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano of DFA for the immediate cancellation of the passport of Mr. Lascañas. Apparently, after he left the country and went to Singapore last April he has not shown any intention of returning to the country,” Aguirre stressed.
Lascañas testified last March in a Senate probe alleging that Duterte offered him P3 million to kill Pala, and gave an additional P1 million after the killing.
Malacañang vehemently denied the testimony, saying there was no such death squad.
with JOMAR CANLAS