DFA chief probes data breach

Tempo - - Front Page - By ROY C. MABASA

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

In a se­ries of fiery tweets over the week­end, Loc­sin sug­gested that a Se­nate probe should be put in or­der to un­mask those who per­pe­trated the crime and the Depart­ment of Jus­tice 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 who were closely iden­ti­fied with the Aquino ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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 Op­er­a­tions Of­fice which was for­merly known as the Of­fice of the Press Sec­re­tary.

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

On the other hand, the BSP was the of­fi­cial printer of Philip­pine pass­port from 2006 to 2015. Its agree­ment with the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs 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 Pres­i­dent now Pam­panga Rep. Glo­ria M. Ar­royo and “got worse” un­der the term of Pres­i­dent Benigno S. 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 un­rav­el­ing 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.

LOC­SIN

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