Differences of a Hold Departure Order, Watch List Order, and Allow Departure Order

Hold Departure Order

A Hold Departure Order (HDO) is a directive issued by the Secretary of Justice and the Regional Trial Courts (RTC) that prohibits individuals from leaving the Philippines. This order can be issued in various situations, such as when a person is facing criminal charges, is a suspect in a criminal investigation, or is considered a flight risk. The HDO aims to prevent individuals from potentially evading prosecution or fleeing the country in order to avoid facing legal consequences.

To issue an HDO, law enforcement authorities or prosecutors must provide sufficient evidence to justify the order. Once an HDO is in effect, the individual subject to the order is not allowed to travel outside the Philippines until the order is lifted or revoked.

Violation of an HDO is a criminal offense and can result in penalties such as arrest and imprisonment. Individuals who are subject to an HDO can seek legal assistance to challenge the order or request its removal. 

It contains the following information:

  • The complete name of the person against whom a Hold Departure Order has been issued
  • Aliases, if any
  • Date and place of birth
  • Place of last residence of the person against whom the HDO is issued
  • Passport details
  • Recent photograph, if available
  • The complete title and docket number of the case in which the HDO was issued
  • The specific nature of the case
  • The date of the Hold Departure Order

An HDO may be issued when:

  • The accused, regardless of nationality, has a pending criminal case before the RTC
  • The presence of an alien is required for a case pending litigation or before any other administrative agency of the government
  • The accused needs to be held in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health

Watch List Order

A Watch List Order (WLO) prohibits people from leaving the Philippines without first getting clearance from the Department of Justice. Like the HDO, a WLO is issued by the RTC. The information contained in the WLO is the same as that of the HDO.

A WLO can be lifted or cancelled when:

  • The validity of the WLO expires
  • The person under a WLO has been acquitted of the charge
  • The person under a WLO has been allowed by the court to leave the country during the pendency of the case
  • The preliminary investigation or petition for review or motion for reconsideration is terminated

Allow Departure Order

An Allow Departure Order (ADO) is a directive that permits a person to leave the Philippines. To file for an ADO, submit an application to the Commissioner of Immigration and the appropriate government agency.

The following steps outline the process of applying for an Allow Departure Order:

  • 1. Gather the necessary documents: To apply for an ADO, you will need to submit a completed application form, a valid passport, a copy of your round trip ticket, and any other supporting documents that may be required by the Commissioner of Immigration.
  • 2. Prepare a letter of request: Write a formal letter addressed to the Commissioner of Immigration, requesting permission to leave the Philippines. Make sure to explain the reasons for your departure and provide any relevant details.
  • 3. Submit your application: Submit your completed application form, supporting documents, and letter of request to the Commissioner of Immigration or the appropriate government agency. You may need to schedule an appointment or submit your application through a designated channel.
  • 4. Wait for approval: Once you have submitted your application, you will need to wait for the Commissioner of Immigration to review your request and make a decision. If approved, you will be issued an Allow Departure Order, which will permit you to leave the Philippines.
  • 5. Proceed with departure: Once you have received your ADO, make sure to carry it with you when traveling out of the country. Present it to immigration officers at the airport or port of exit to ensure a smooth departure process.

It is important to note that the issuance of an Allow Departure Order is subject to the discretion of the Commissioner of Immigration, and approval is not guaranteed. Make sure to follow all instructions and provide accurate and complete information to increase your chances of obtaining an ADO. 

For an ADO to be issued, the following requirements must be submitted:

  • An affidavit clearly stating the purpose and inclusive period of the intended travel, and a stipulation to immediately report to the Department of Justice upon return
  • An authority to travel or a travel clearance from any of the following:
    • The court
    • The appropriate government office where the case upon which the issued HDO and/or WLO was based
    • The investigating prosecutor in charge of the subject case

In some cases, a person with an HDO or named in a WLO can be issued an Allow Departure Order. To apply for an ADO, the person must provide an exceptional reason for leaving and subsequently take an oath before the Secretary of Justice.

When filing for an ADO, the following must be submitted:

  • Duly notarized letter-request
  • Affidavit of undertaking stating the purpose and the inclusive period of the intended travel
  • Authority to travel from the appropriate office where the case is pending (for those under HDO)
  • Authority to travel from the investigating prosecutor where the case is pending (for those under WLO)

Consult with Duran & Duran-Schulze Law for matters pertaining to Allow Departure Orders, Hold Departure Orders, or Watch List Orders. Give them a call at (+632) 478 5826 or send an email to info@duranschulze.com.

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