DFA asks privacy body for more time to probe passport mess

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 16) — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday asked for a few more days to be able to explain a possible passport data breach that could affect millions of Filipinos.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) officially launched its probe into the passport mess on Wednesday.

A preliminary fact-finding meeting was supposed to happen between NPC and DFA Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr. and the department's data protection officer. However, three lawyers from the DFA instead attended.

DFA's lawyers asked NPC for a 10-day extension to give them more time to prepare for their own investigation. NPC granted them five days only.

NPC and DFA are expected to meet again on January 21. The privacy body may also meet with officials of APO Production Unit, Inc. (APUI), the government's contractor on printing passports.

On Tuesday, Locsin said the personal data of millions of passport holders is not "runaway-able" but remains inaccessible. He also said there is no assurance on the safety and security of some personal data.

CNN Philippines correspondent Makoi Popioco contributed to this report.