08 September 2015

Immigration Commissioners Faces Serious Charges

Bureau of Immigration
Three former commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the Philippines and six others are facing charges for ordering the deportation of a convicted foreigner.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found probable cause to indict former Immigration commissioners Teodoro Delarmente, Roy Almoro and Jose Cabochan for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). It stems from the irregularities in the issuance of medical passes and Summary Deportation Order (SDO) in favor of a certain Vo Van Duc, a suspected terrorist convicted of unlawful manufacture and possession of explosives.

According to ABS-CBN, Morales also ordered the filing of charges against former acting chief of the PNP Civil Security Unit Wendy Rosario, former BI chief of staff Alejandro Fernandez, former acting warden Noel Espinosa, former legal aide Richard Perez, former security escort Francis Agana and former confidential agent Joselito Pagaduan for violation of RA 3019 and Article 224 of the Revised Penal Code (Evasion through Negligence).

Investigation revealed that Delarmente, Rosario, Espinosa and Agana were responsible for the issuance of medical passes on several dates in 2005 to Van Duc, despite the absence of required recommendation from the bureau's physician.

They were also found guilty of letting Van Duc enjoy liberty for three weeks.

"Apparently, the medical passes issued by Delarmente had no basis but the 'request' made by Van Duc himself. Further, the medical passes made it possible for Van Duc to leave the BI Detention Center and enjoy the comforts of staying in an apartelle. All these respondents, conspiring with Delarmente, acted with manifest partiality and evident bad faith in giving Van Duc unwarranted benefit," stated the resolution.

Delarmente, Almoro, Cabochan, Fernandez and Perez were also found to have violated the rules in summary deportation proceedings when the SDO was issued based on an outdated 4-year old charge sheet and without the conduct of any semblance of a hearing by the commissioners, which facilitated Van Duc's escape from the country.

It was stated in the resolution that the "SDO was flawed from its very inception, as it did not go through the proper procedure under the BI rules. At the outset, records do not disclose any memorandum from the special prosecutor recommending summary proceeding. Secondly, the SDO was not prepared by the Board of Special Inquiry but by respondent Perez, allegedly upon the orders of respondent Fernandez."