Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the DOJ’s move stemmed from the fact that some of those linked to the scam had already fled abroad before charges were filed against them.
“The move is also not without basis in the sense that we’ve seen that some of those who have been slapped with charges regarding the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam had left the country,” she said on government-run dzRB radio.
She added the public should understand the move of the DOJ since there are fears they would no longer be in the country to stand trial.
On the other hand, she said this [cancellation of passports] is not yet final as the Department of Foreign Affairs is still studying it.
For now, she said it is up to the DFA to decide on the matter.
“The greater public understands the initiative of the DOJ. Whether that will be cleared by the DFA is another thing,” she said.
Valte also said a hold-departure order is not the solution because only the court can issue it.
She also said the DOJ’s watch-list power is now the subject of a temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court.
“At the end of the day what matters is sinusundan natin may basis (At the end of the day, what matters is that we are following a course of action that has basis),” she said. — LBG, GMA News