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E-passport deal legal, says DOJ

By: - Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 04:59 PM June 03, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice has affirmed the validity of a proposed deal between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on the production of electronic passports.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said there was no legal hurdle to enforce the proposed second supplemental memorandum of agreement on the implementation of the electronic passport (e-Passport) project.

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“We are of the view that there are good reasons, legal and operational, for the DFA and BSP to enter into the proposed Second Supplemental MOA with the end in view of further enhancing the details of the e-passport project,” De Lima said in a five-page legal opinion released Friday.

This was issued after BSP Deputy and General Counsel Juan De Zuñiga, Jr. sought the DOJ’s opinion on the legality of the Second Supplemental MOA.

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“Concerns about technical compatibility of all passport components as well as the need to further study and review the technical specifications and procurement-related aspects of the existing e-passport system had prompted the parties to draft a Second Supplemental MOA,” De Lima said.

“We also find merit in the intent of the second supplemental MOA in assigning a single entity to handle the procurement of the complete package of all the e-passport requirements,” the opinion stated.

Under the MOA, the BSP will supply all the passport requirements of the DFA for the next 10 years. After a public bidding, the BSP awarded the project to Francois Charles Oberthur Fiduciare S.A. (FCOF).

The DFA started issuing the machine-readable passport in April 2010.

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TAGS: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, BSP, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, DFA, electronic passport, legal opinion, Leila de Lima
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