Hold Departure Order, Watch List Order and Allow Departure Order


HOLD DEPARTURE ORDER

1.     What is a Hold Departure Order?

A Hold Departure Order (HDO) stops an individual from exiting Philippine territory.


2.     What does a Hold Departure Order contain?

A Hold Departure order shall contain the following information:

(a)   The complete name of the person against whom a Hold Departure Order has been issued;

(b)   Alias(es), if any;

(c)   Date and place of birth;

(d)   Place of last residence of the person against whom the HDO is issued;

(e)   Passport details;

(f)    Recent photograph, if available;

(g)   The complete title and docket number of the case in which the HDO was issued;

(h)   The specific nature of the case;

(i)     The date of the Hold Departure Order (Circular No. 39-97)

(Also applicable to the issuance of a Watchlist Order)


3.     Who issues a Hold Departure Order?

The Secretary of Justice and the Regional Trial Courts may issue a Hold Departure Order.


4.     Why is the Secretary of Justice empowered to issue an HDO/WLO? Should that not be vested to the Immigration authorities?

The Secretary of Justice is the head of the principal law agency of the government who is mandated to investigate the commission of crimes, prosecute offenders and provide immigration regulatory services. So apart from regular courts, he is in the best position to institute measures to prevent any miscarriage of justice and at the same time, safeguard the individual’s right to travel.

Immigration authorities merely execute the Orders issued by the Department of Justice or the courts.


5.     What will the Regional Trial Court do when it issues a Hold Departure Order?

The Regional Trial Courts issuing the Hold Departure Order shall furnish the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) of the Department of Justice with a copy each of the Hold Departure Order issued within twenty-four (24) hours from the time of issuance and through the fastest available means of transmittal. (Circular No. 39-97)


6.     How do I know if there is a Hold Departure Order issued against me?

Verification may be conducted to ascertain if there is an existing HDO or WLO against you at the Clearance and Certification Section of the Bureau of Immigration. All you need to present is your passport and pay the necessary fees.


7.     What are the instances when an HDO may be issued?

(a)   Against the accused, irrespective of nationality, in criminal cases falling within the jurisdiction of courts below the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs).

(b)   Against the alien whose presence is required either as a defendant, respondent, or witness in a civil or labor case pending litigation, or any case before an administrative agency of the government.

(c)   Against any person, either motu proprio, or upon the request by the Head of a Department of the Government; the head of a constitutional body or commission; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the Judiciary; the Senate President or the House Speaker for the Legislature, when the adverse party is the Government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, or in the interest of national security, public safety or public health. (Section 1, Department of Justice Circular No. 41.)


8.     I have a pending civil case in the Metropolitan Trial Court for forcible entry. Will the pendency of this case bar me from leaving the Philippines by virtue of a Hold Departure Order?

No, a Hold Departure Order shall be issued only in criminal cases within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts.  (Circular No. 39-97)


9.     Does a Hold Departure Order expire?

Yes, the Hold Departure Order is valid for five (5) years unless terminated, reckoned from the date of issuance. (Section 4, Department of Justice Circular No. 41.)


10.  I was held in the airport today because a similar name appears in a Hold Departure Order but is not actually me. What should I do?

Any person who is prevented from leaving the country because his name appears to be the same as the one that appears in the Hold Departure Order or Watchlist Order issued may, upon application under oath, be issued a Certification to the effect that said person is not the same person whose name appears in the issued Hold Departure Order or Watchlist Order.

The Certification may be issued upon submission of the following requirements:

(a)   Affidavit of Denial;

(b)   Photocopy of the page of the passport bearing the personal details;

(c)   Latest clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); and

(d)   Clearance from the court or appropriate government agency, whenever applicable. (Section 8, Department of Justice Circular No. 41.)


11.  I have medical conditions that needs to be addressed immediately and may only be treated abroad. But a Hold Departure Order is issued against me. Am I really not allowed to leave the Philippines?

For exceptional circumstances, an Allow Departure Order (ADO) may be issued in your favor.

Any person subject of a Hold Departure Order or Watchlist Order who intends, for some exceptional reasons, to leave the country may, upon application under oath with the Secretary of Justice, be issued an ADO.

The ADO may be issued upon submission of the following requirements:

(a)   Affidavit stating clearly the purpose, inclusive period of the intended travel, and containing an undertaking to immediately report to the DOJ upon return; and

(b)   Authority to travel or travel clearance from the court or appropriate government office where the case upon which the issued HDO/WLO was based is pending, or from the investigating prosecutor in charge of the subject case. (Section 7, Department of Justice Circular No. 41.)


12.  What are the instances when an HDO can be lifted or cancelled?

(a)   When the validity period of the HDO has already expired;

(b)   When the accused subject of the HDO has been allowed to leave the country during the pendency of the case or has been acquitted of the charge or the case has been dismissed or the warrant recalled

(c)   When the civil, labor or administrative case where the presence of the subject of the HDO has been dismissed, or has been discharged as a witness or has been allowed to leave the country. (Section 5, Department of Justice Circular No. 41.)


13.  I was acquitted of the crime of concubinage. Is the Hold Departure Order issued against me lifted automatically?

Whenever the accused has been acquitted or the case has been dismissed, the judgment of acquittal or the order of dismissal shall include therein the cancellation of the Hold Departure Order issued. The Court concerned shall furnish the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration with a copy each of the judgment of acquittal promulgated or the order of dismissal issued within twenty-four (24) hours from the time of promulgation/issuance and likewishe through the fastest available means of transmittal. (Circular No. 39-97)

 

WATCHLIST ORDER

14.  What is a Watchlist Order?

A Watchlist Order (WLO) is a list of persons who cannot leave the country without first seeking clearance from the Department of Justice (DOJ).


15.  Who issues a Watchlist Order?

The Secretary of Justices issues a Watchlist Order.


16.  A Resolution was issued by the Prosectuor’s office recommending the issuance of an Information against me for the crime of Homicide. In response, I filed a Motion for Reconsideration to the said resolution. During the pendency of my Motion for Reconsideration and before an Information is issued, will I be able to freely leave the country?

Yes, you may. However, a Watchlist Order may still be issued against you and thus may preclude you from leaving.

A Watchlsit Order may be issued by the Secretary of Jusice in criminal cases which are pending preliminary investigation or petition for review before the Department of Justice. (Section 1, Department of Justice Circular No. 18, s. 2007)


17.  Will I be notified if a Watchlist Order has been issued against me or will I always have to verify everytime I decide to fly out?

It is provided that a copy of the Watchlist Order shall be sent to you (the person subject of the WLO) at your last known address. You are therafter given the opportunity to move for the lifting or cancellation of the WLO. (Section 2, Department of Justice Circular No. 18, s. 2007)


18.  What is the validity of the Watchlist Order?

A Watchlist Order is valid for sixty (60) days unless terminated. The WLO may be extended for a non-extendible period  of not more than sixty (60) days.


19.  I was prevented to leave the country because a similar name appears in a Watchlist Order but is not actually me. What should I do?

You may request for a Certification of Not the Same Person. You would only need to submit the following documents:

(a)   Duly notarized Letter-Request;

(b)   Affidavit of Denial; and

(c)   Clearance from Appropriate Government Agencies. (Section 5, Department of Justice Circular No. 18, s. 2007.)


20.  Is an Allow Departure Order (ADO) applicable to cases falling under the Watchlist

Order as well?

Yes, an Allow Departure Order (ADO) may also be issued in favor of a person against whom a Watchlist Order was issued.


21.  What are the instances when a WLO may be lifted or cancelled?

(a)   Whent the validity of the WLO has already expired;

(b)   When the accused subject of the WLO has been allowed by the court to leave the country during the pendency of the case or has been acquitted of the charge

(c)   When the preliminary investigation or petition for review or motion for reconsideration is terminated. (Section 5, Department of Justice Circular No. 41.)