Monday, April 28, 2008

Immigration Agents Probed for Human Trafficking



By Margaux Ortiz

From the Inquirer:


MANILA, Philippines- An officer of the Bureau of Immigration was relieved recently for alleged involvement in the trafficking of undocumented Filipino workers abroad.

Acting Immigration Commissioner Roy Almoro issued an order recalling Immigration Officer I Vic Ferrer from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to the bureau's main office in Intramuros, Manila, after the latter was implicated in the activities of 17 suspected illegal recruiters arrested recently by police.

Almoro said the bureau was watching another immigration officer who was previously assigned to the NAIA but has been working at the BI's main office lately. Almoro said the tips came from Vice President Noli de Castro.

"The two officers will be afforded due process," Almoro said in a statement on Sunday. He said the recent arrest of 17 suspected members of an illegal recruitment ring run by a Chinese-Filipino businessman prompted the action against the immigration officers.

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said the suspected illegal recruiters were arrested after their victims sought De Castro's help.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:16 AM

    In recent days, ABS-CBN has reported the alleged human smuggling of Indian nationals via the so-called “Pro-Investment Visa Program” launched by the Bureau of Immigration sometime in August 2007. However, as I was monitoring the progress of the said controversy, I noticed that the reports were focused on a certain Indian national named SURJIT SINGH who is the subject of a deportation order and two warrants of deportation issued by erstwhile Immigration Commissioners Alipio F. Fernandez and Orlando V. Dizon. I do not know if this was intentionally done. Or maybe, ABS-CBN simply missed the point because the real issue there is not the relationship of Surjit Singh to Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan but the manner by which the latter abused his authority in issuing the “multiple entry visa” as provided under the program. Please allow me to narrate in the most simple manner how Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan and his men deprived the government of hundreds of millions of pesos and exposed the Philippines to serious from terrorists and/or criminal elements:

    Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan launched the “Pro-Investment Visa Program” through MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. MCL-07-001 dated 01 August 2007, also known as “The Guidelines for the Issuance of Pro-Investment Visa upon Arrival to Certain Individuals and under Special Circumstances”, that in part reads:

    “SECTION 1. The Program. – There is hereby established a PRO-INVESTMENT VISA PROGRAM aimed at attracting foreign investments and sustaining investor’s confidence in the country.

    X X X

    SECTION 7. Multiple Entry Facility for Multinational Corporations. – Senior officials of multinational corporations with operations in the Philippines as certified to, and endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) may be granted a Pro-Investment Visa upon arrival, subject to 48 hours notice to the Office of the Commissioner prior to officer’s arrival; which, during the initial issuance thereof, shall be valid for three (3) months from the date of their admission to the country, subject to the payment of One Hundred U.S. Dollars (USD100.00) as basic application fee and such other applicable fees. Visas issued under this Section may be extended through a series of extension of six (6) months validity per extension, provided, that the total aggregate length of time shall not exceed a period of three (3) years. Holders of this particular visa are entitled to multiple entry visa privileges. X x x” [Emphasis Supplied]

    The above-quoted memorandum was subsequently amended by MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 07-002 which increases the program’s basic application payment of One Hundred U.S. Dollar (USD100.00) to Five Thousand Pesos (Php5,000.00).

    Subsequently, Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan issued MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. MCL-07-015, or simply the program’s Implementing Rules and Regulations, that essentially contains the same provisions as Memorandum Circular No. MCL-07-001.

    From the foregoing, it is evident that the Multiple Entry Visa may only be granted if the following requisites are present, to wit:

    1. The applicant/grantee is a senior official of a multinational corporation with operations in the Philippines.

    2. The said multinational corporation should have a prior certification or endorsement from the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments (DTI-BOI).

    3. For the initial issuance, the visa is valid only for three (3) months which can be extended through a series of extension of six (6) months per extension, provided, that the total aggregate length of time or extension shall not exceed a period of three (3) years.

    Simply put, on the assumption that the applicant/grantee has all the qualifications mentioned under items 1 and 2, he cannot instantly be granted a multiple entry visa with a validity period of three (3) years because it is expressly provided in Memorandum Circular No. MCL-07-001 that “the visa, during the initial issuance thereof, shall be valid for three (3) months from the date of admission to the country” but it “may be extended through a series of extension of six (6) months validity per extension, provided, that the total aggregate length of time shall not exceed a period of three (3) years”.

    However, despite knowledge of the foregoing requirements, Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan issued countless orders granting multiple entry visas to Indian nationals who are not senior officials of multinational corporations operating in the Philippines as endorsed by DTI-BOI and, worse, he instantly granted said foreigners a three (3) year multiple entry visa valid upon their arrival in the Philippines. The following are just a few of the orders he issued:

    1. ORDER DATED 22 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-061, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national RAJINDER SINGH, born on 18 June 1987, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    2. ORDER DATED 23 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-062, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national RAKESH KUMAR, born on 04 December 1980, who was endorsed by Punjabi Philippines, Inc.

    3. ORDER DATED 23 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-063, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national SANTOKH KUMAR, born on 29 December 1988, who was endorsed by Punjabi Philippines, Inc.

    4. ORDER DATED 23 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-064, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national HARJIT SINGH, born on 12 April 1976, who was endorsed by Punjabi Philippines, Inc.

    5. ORDER DATED 09 JANUARY 2008, with docket number MCL-08-014, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national HARPREET KAUR, born on 24 April 1982, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    6. ORDER DATED 09 JANUARY 2008, with docket number MCL-08-013, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national JASBIR SINGH KHOSA, born on 04 December 1983, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    7. ORDER DATED 09 JANUARY 2008, with docket number MCL-08-012, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national RANPHOOL SINGH SANDHU, born on 18 December 1985, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    8. ORDER DATED 09 JANUARY 2008, with docket number MCL-08-011, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national LOVEPREET KUMAR, born on 20 March 1992, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc. – PLEASE TAKE NOTE THAT THE HEREIN GRANTEE IS ONLY FIFTEEN (15) YEARS OLD.

    9. ORDER DATED 09 JANUARY 2008, with docket number MCL-08-010, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national AMANBIR SINGH, born on 10 March 1983, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    10. ORDER DATED 09 JANUARY 2008, with docket number MCL-08-009, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national SURJIT SINGH, born on 15 March 1988, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    11. ORDER DATED 15 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-059, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national PUSHPA HIRANAND KHANCHANDANI, born on 16 December 1947, who was endorsed by Indian Chamber of Commerce Phils., Inc.

    12. ORDER DATED 24 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-065, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national GURNAM SINGH, born on 08 June 1948, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    13. ORDER DATED 24 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-066, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national DASONDA SINGH, born on 11 February 1949, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    14. ORDER DATED 24 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-067, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national GURBAX KAUR, born on 08 October 1977, who was endorsed by Nanak Darbar Iloilo, Inc.

    15. ORDER DATED 24 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-068, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national JOGINDER SINGH, born on 14 March 1975, who was endorsed by Nanak Darbar Iloilo, Inc.

    16. ORDER DATED 24 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-069, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national BALKARAN SINGH, born on 05 April 1969, who was endorsed by Nanak Darbar Iloilo, Inc.

    17. ORDER DATED 24 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-070, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national LAKHVIR SINGH, born on 20 April 1974, who was endorsed by Nanak Darbar Iloilo, Inc.

    18. ORDER DATED 24 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-071, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national HARMINDER SINGH CHANE, born on 10 May 1986, who was endorsed by Nanak Darbar Iloilo, Inc.

    19. ORDER DATED 24 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-072, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national RAMANDEEP, born on 21 June 1983, who was endorsed by Nanak Darbar Iloilo, Inc.

    20. ORDER DATED 25 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-074, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national SUKHDEV KAUR, born on 28 December 1986, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    21. ORDER DATED 25 JANUARY 2008, bearing reference number PIV-MEV No. MCL-08-075, granting a three (3) year multiple entry tourist visa upon arrival, effective upon issuance thereof, in favor of Indian national JEET KAUR, born on 03 April 1932, who was endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc.

    Upon the instruction of Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan, MR. FERDINAND C. ARBAS, Technical Staff Chief, implemented the abovementioned orders (earlier prepared by ATTY. CHARO L. GONZALES) through the various directives he issued to the concerned airline companies.

    Surely, Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan issued more orders of the same nature for the months of February 2008 and March 2008. Unfortunately, my attempt to secure copies of the said orders was prevented by his men who all started as “fixers” in the Bureau of Immigration but are now employed as contractual employees and/or confidential agents of the bureau. Per information from a concerned official of the bureau, hundreds of these contractual employees and/or confidential agents were hired by him in a span of one (1) year and most of them are his relatives, or from Eastern Samar, or close to his associates like MR. GARY GUMBA whose spouse and relatives were hired by Mr. Libanan soon after he took his oath of office. And this fact is easily verifiable from the Administrative Division headed by Atty. Felino C. Quirante who fell out of grace simply because he was doing his job.

    At the Bureau of Immigration, Mr. Gumba is often seen with: (1) ATTY. FRANCIS OCA – former immigration employee who was constrained to resign from the service after his name was implicated in a number of illegal and money-making activities during the previous administration but was re-hired by Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan; and (2) Indian national SURJIT SINGH, convicted human smuggler and enemy number 1 of the immigration bureau for, as earlier stated, he is the subject of a summary deportation order and two warrants of deportation issued by erstwhile Commissioners Orlando V. Dizon and Alipio F. Fernandez, Jr.

    Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan cannot feign ignorance regarding the personal background of Surjit Singh because the latter has been the subject of several media articles before and during his incumbency. In point of fact, he too is aware that the Atty. Faisal U. Hussin, the bureau’s intelligence chief, and several other agents are the respondents in a case filed by said Surjit Singh before the Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas and the Court of Appeals in Cebu. Incidentally, Atty. Francis Oca is one of the lawyers and/or legal adviser of Surjit Singh in those cases. But he claims otherwise. Nonetheless, his unceasing allegation that he is not aware of the true identity of Surjit Singh is simply a manifestation of his incompetence and ineptitude in handling the affairs of the Bureau of Immigration. In this connection, Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan must be reminded that public officials are mandated by Republic Act No. 6713, also known as “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”, to discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, and competence. Hence, he should avoid giving an impression that he is coddling or giving refuge to a convicted human smuggler. But he did the opposite. Many times, he was seen having a tete-a-tete with Surjit Singh inside his office at the Bureau of Immigration. As a matter of fact, he was photographed in the company of said Surjit Singh in one of the gatherings he attended.

    Consequently, he must be penalized and sanctioned for his actuations for, aside from causing demoralization among the ranks, i.e. the personnel of the Intelligence Division, he placed in bad light the Bureau of Immigration.

    Mr. Gary Gumba and Atty. Francis Oca are the Commissioner’s men in charge of “Indian Affairs”. Together, they work and transact business inside the Office of the Commissioner until they professionally separated few months back when the latter failed to renew his contract of employment for reasons known only to him. Yet, he still frequents the Commissioner’s Office and the coffee shop across the bureau – the favorite hang-out of Surjit Singh and Gary Gumba who were likewise therein photographed in the company of several Indian nationals.

    Sometime May 2008, a concerned citizen approached me and handed copies of the Four Hundred and Twenty Seven (427) Orders issued by the Bureau of Immigration for the month of April 2008. And these orders were of the same nature as the orders mentioned above, that is, granting three (3) years multiple entry visas to Four Hundred and Twenty Seven (427) Indian and Chinese nationals who are not senior officials of multinational corporations operating in the Philippines as endorsed by DTI-BOI. Rather, said foreigners were endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc., Nanak Darbar Iloilo, Inc., Punjabi Philippines, Inc., Indian Chamber of Commerce Phils., Inc., India Phils. Welfare Club, Inc., Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., and Filipino-Indian Importers Association, Inc. – all non-stock and non-profit associations. In sum, these associations are not multinational corporations as required under Memorandum Circular No. MCL-07-001.

    Quite interestingly, majority of the multiple entry visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration pursuant to Section 7 of Memorandum Circular No. MCL-07-001 were endorsed by Cebuano-Indian Friendship Association, Inc. that, as shown by the Certificate of Incorporation issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, is a Cebu-based organization headed by Indian national SURJIT SINGH.

    Again, by issuing the Four Hundred and Twenty Seven (427) Orders instantly granting three (3) years multiple entry visas to foreign nationals who are not qualified under the “Pro-Investment Visa Program”, Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan is guilty of committing the same violations Four hundred and Twenty Seven (427) times over and above the Twenty-One (21) violations he earlier committed. Or a total of Four Hundred and Forty Eight (448) violations that he committed in two months (January and April). Certainly, the herein figure will increase to about Five Thousand (5,000) if all the orders he issued from the date the program was implemented, will be revealed via a compulsory process. Along these lines, it is worthy to stress that the he cannot escape liability by the mere fact that the said 427 orders were signed by ATTY. EDGARDO L. MENDOZA, Chief of the Immigration Regulation Division, for the simple reason that, as the Immigration Commissioner, his authority under Commonwealth Act No. 613, as amended, are powers that have been delegated to him by the President. Ergo, his delegation of authority in favor of Atty. Edgardo L. Mendoza is against the settled rule that “a delegated power cannot be delegated” as expressed in the latin maxim “potestas delegata non delegari potest”.

    It is worthy to mention that amongst the 427 orders that he issued, four (4) of them were in favor of four (4) Indian nationals who are all minors, namely: Sidhu Simranjit Singh aged 16, Preetpal Singh aged 13, Aman Preet Kaur aged 11, and Sunita Rani aged 13. Verily, these highlight the fact that Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan is not only inept in implementing immigration laws and regulations, worse, he abused his authority to the prejudice of the Philippine Government which he deprived of hundreds of millions of pesos (more or less P125,000,000.00) by way of revenues that should have been derived from the fees that said foreigners should be paying for the series of visa extensions they are supposed to make the moment their respective visas expired. In similar manner, he exposed the Philippines from possible terrorists’ attack and/or criminal elements as he indiscriminately and arbitrarily granted the abovementioned visas to foreign individuals who are not qualified under the program.

    Indeed, Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan and his men should be sacked from office, investigated, and penalized for issuing the abovementioned orders. Moreover, he must be sanctioned for implementing the “Pro-Investment Visa Program” without consulting the Department of Foreign Affairs, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and other concerned government offices. Lastly, he should also be charged criminally and administratively for associating himself with a convicted human smuggler thereby putting in bad light the name of the Bureau of Immigration.

    It is not hard to discern why Immigration Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan and his men issued the aforementioned orders despite their obvious illegality. People from the immigration bureau are one in saying that, aside from the legal fees that they are paying, foreigners are made to pay extra-legal fees in the amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P150,000.00) which are distributed in the following manner: P100,000.00 goes to Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan while the rest are equally shared by Mr. Gary Gumba, Surjit Singh, Atty. Edgardo L. Mendoza, Mr. Manuel Ferdinand C. Arbas, and Attys. Charo L. Gonzales and Francis Oca.

    Therefore, for the more or less 5,000 orders that were issued, Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan earned a whopping Five Hundred Million Pesos (P500,000,000.00) more or less in just eight months whereas his men earned about Fifty Million Pesos (P50,000,000.00) each.

    Indeed, the scornful deeds of Commissioner Marcelino C. Libanan, et. al. must exposed to the public so they can be investigated and penalized in accordance with existing laws.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Atty. Shirley Espiritu11:28 AM

    The COMMENT below with the caption "Anonymous said" is nothing but a malicious rhetoric by a cowardly person aimed at slurring the integrity of Commissioner Libanan and the hardworking personnel of the Bureau.

    His comment is a manifestation of his arrogance and gross ignorance considering that his reaction does not in anyway relate to the issue of human trafficking.

    Memorandum Circular No MCL 07-001 or the Visa Upon Arrival Program, as Amended, is a program available not only to existing investors but to prospective investors as well, such as tourists and participants to international fora who may be scouting the potentials of the Philippine economy.

    In fact the Visa upon Arrival and the Visa Issuance Made Simple are twin programs of the Bureau of Immigration under the stewardship of Commissioner Marcelino Libanan which received much accolade from the different foreign chambers of commerce.

    Due to the huge success of the program no less than the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Tourism offered to be involved in promoting the said programs.

    The said programs do not in anyway promote trafficking and is in fact a source of revenue to the government and a means to combat trafficking through the proper and strict monitoring of the influx of foreign nationals into the country.

    As mentioned in the comment, the Indian Nationals who availed of the program were vouched for and/or sponsored by various legitimate Indian organizations operating in the country. Thus, human trafficking can not come into play because their stay in the country is monitored and are easily verifiable from their sponsors.

    Foreign Nationals who got to avail of the 3 Years Multiple entry Visas fall under the same visa category as tourists. As such, they are initially allowed to stay in the country for three (3) months, subject to multiple extensions, upon their satisfaction of the requirements and payment of appropriate fees to the govenrment. This process is similar to the visas issued by foreign states such as the United States, Japan and Germany among others.

    On malicious insinuations that visas are issued to minors who may not be considered potential investors, it bears stressing that the minors mentioned who were issued visas under the program are dependents of Indian nationals who are potential investors granted visas under the program and covered by a guaranty from the sponsoring organization.

    ReplyDelete
  3. lucia salvador, ma3:25 AM

    Regarding the two comments posted by Anonymous and Atty. Shirley Espiritu, both clearly said their piece. I am a television fanatic and being so I was able to watch the news and the issue on visa upon arrival was something that actually caught my attention.

    Anonymous seemed to know so much about it. But as far as what I saw on tv is concerned, the Commissioner of Immigration has already explained and clarified the issue on visa upon arrival, even prior to the posting of his or her comment on the blog.

    It is a program created in accordance with the policy of the government to liberalize the entry of foreign nationals in order to encourage them to visit the Philippines for purposes of promoting tourism and investment.

    Memorandum Circular No. MCL-07-001 was issued not on the date mentioned by Anonymous. It is in fact a circular approved by the Department of Justice which has authority over the Bureau of Immigration. Visa upon arrival could be availed of not only by Indians but also by other foreign nationals. As for my opinion, it is merely circumstantial that most of the grantees of this program are Indians because it is an unhidden truth that at the present economic scenario it is these nationals who have the utmost interest to invest in the country. They are known businessmen.

    As to the people mentioned, it is rightful to hear their side of the story before putting verdict on them. There will be no fair and correct judgment in this issue if it shall be based merely on the story of one party. It could be just hearsay, we do not know. How about personal grudges? This is also possible.

    Finally, I, in a way, agree with the comment of Atty. Shirley Espiritu and I quote: “The said programs do not in anyway promote trafficking and is in fact a source of revenue to the government and a means to combat trafficking through the proper and strict monitoring of the influx of foreign nationals into the country. xxx, the Indian Nationals who availed of the program were vouched for and/or sponsored by various legitimate Indian organizations operating in the country. Thus, human trafficking can not come into play because their stay in the country is monitored and are easily verifiable from their sponsors.”

    ReplyDelete
  4. lucia salvador, ma3:28 AM

    Regarding the two comments posted by Anonymous and Atty. Shirley Espiritu, both clearly said their piece. I am a television fanatic and being so I was able to watch the news and the issue on visa upon arrival was something that actually caught my attention.

    Anonymous seemed to know so much about it. But as far as what I saw on tv is concerned, the Commissioner of Immigration has already explained and clarified the issue on visa upon arrival, even prior to the posting of his or her comment on the blog.

    It is a program created in accordance with the policy of the government to liberalize the entry of foreign nationals in order to encourage them to visit the Philippines for purposes of promoting tourism and investment.

    Memorandum Circular No. MCL-07-001 was issued not on the date mentioned by Anonymous. It is in fact a circular approved by the Department of Justice which has authority over the Bureau of Immigration. Visa upon arrival could be availed of not only by Indians but also by other foreign nationals. As for my opinion, it is merely circumstantial that most of the grantees of this program are Indians because it is an unhidden truth that at the present economic scenario it is these nationals who have the utmost interest to invest in the country. They are known businessmen.

    As to the people mentioned, it is rightful to hear their side of the story before putting verdict on them. There will be no fair and correct judgment in this issue if it shall be based merely on the story of one party. It could be just hearsay, we do not know. How about personal grudges? This is also possible.

    Finally, I, in a way, agree with the comment of Atty. Shirley Espiritu and I quote: “The said programs do not in anyway promote trafficking and is in fact a source of revenue to the government and a means to combat trafficking through the proper and strict monitoring of the influx of foreign nationals into the country. xxx, the Indian Nationals who availed of the program were vouched for and/or sponsored by various legitimate Indian organizations operating in the country. Thus, human trafficking can not come into play because their stay in the country is monitored and are easily verifiable from their sponsors.”

    ReplyDelete
  5. SB LAW STUDENT12:26 AM

    Human smuggling or trafficking is the act alleged to have been committed by Commissioner Marcelino Libanan, some Bureau of Immigration employees and certain private individuals. Under the law, what is expressed to a crime punishable is trafficking in persons. It is defined as "the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, within or accross national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of the person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs."

    Following the given definition, there can be no commission of trafficking in persons, or "human smuggling or trafficking" as used in this blog, in the case at bar. With a scrutiny of the facts reiterated in the first comment, it can be inferred that the people involved did not perform any of the acts which shall fall within the said offense.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Atty. FRANCIS T. OCA11:34 PM

    I totally agree with the lady lawyer that indeed, anonymous is just one of those cowardly cynical persons whose identity he could not even reveal, perhaps because he himself isn’t so saintly as he wanted to project. His personal assault on my person based on unfounded, tenuous and speculative facts makes him all the more funny and preposterous, if not depraved.

    “Anonymouse” was right when he said that I was previously hired as an employee of the BI. That was in October of 2000 right after taking the Bar exams when then Commissioner Rufus B. Rodriguez hired 6 of us as technical assistants for the Law and Investigation Division and the BSI. In May 2001 at 25, Mr. Mouse, I became a lawyer and as everybody in the profession, young, idealist and vibrant, we choose to leave government service and embarked into private practice. Your allegation of being dismissed due to a number of alleged illegal and money making complaints is simply unacceptable, outrageous and smacks of discourtesy and insolence (especially from a colleague assuming you are a lawyer). Our former boss, Atty. Ben L. Kalaw, the able former acting chief of the LID would attest to that. Grudge and envy are not excuses for your unprofessional, unethical and slanderous deeds.

    In as much as I am not in a position to discuss the legality or the implications of the Visa Upon Arrival program of the BI, as far as I know, the same program was reached through a series of consultations with the BOI and DOT and the same was duly approved by the Department of Justice(I was with the Commissioner’s Office when the program was being drafted and approved).

    Anonymouse spoke of possible terrorist infiltration that may have entered the country through the BI program and acting like an omniscient rabbi, collected all his rhetoric and began swinging the sword of Damocles on everybody like he is all that was left clean. May I ask why did you became concerned only know? Why didn’t you bother to raise an eyebrow when your erstwhile “Commissioners” facilitated the escape in broad daylight a known high profile terrorist by the name of VO VAN DUC, wanted by the Federal Government of the U.S.? How about the Chinese Kidnapper and druglord ZHANG DU? Where were you then Saint? Fact is, a foreigner cannot enter the country if he has derogatory records as the same would readily appear in the BI’s database. O by the way, I was the legal counsel of that lowly employee who exposed these anomalous misadventures…

    Be that as it may, allow me Mr. Mouse to speak in behalf of my friend and client Surjit Singh, whom you condemned as being a convicted human smuggler and enemy number 1 of the BI. (pls refer to SB Law Student's comment) I just hope that you know the meaning of human smuggling and enemy as I find the following facts and observations to the contrary as follows:

    1. Surjit Singh is a bonafide holder of a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) having been married to Ms. Janette Tabieros, a Filipina for more than 20 years now. He has 2 kids who are both Filipinos;

    2. You and I know that Surjit Singh has never been charged for deportation with the BI nor for violation of Republic Act 9208 otherwise known as Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. Proof to these are his BI Clearance just recently issued indicating that he has no derogatory record with the BI and his NBI and PNP clearance which I could readily show to you assuming you have the nerve to show of;

    3. As no charge for deportation (or even a complaint) was filed against Surjit Singh, there could be no summary deportation order much less a warrant of deportation to speak of;

    4. BI Records and database will show that there was a charge sheet and a Summary Deportation Order issued sometime in 2004 against one SURJIT BASSI @ JOHNY. Interestingly, the charge sheet and SDO are dated so close with each other as the same bear only 4 days difference in their respective dates. Obviously Mr. Mouse, my client’s name is SURJIT SINGH and not Surjit Bassi;

    5. During those days and years at the interim, Surjit Singh could freely visit the BI offices contrary to your claim that he is wanted by the former;

    6. In December 2005, you and I know that some members of the BI Intelligence Division tried to extort Christmas money from Surjit Singh where they tried to arrest him in Cebu on the basis of the summary deportation order against Surjit Bassi. This failed adventure led to the filing of a complaint for grave misconduct against some BI operatives before the ombudsman wherein the latter issued a preventive suspension order which was upheld by the Court of Appeals and is now the subject of yet another appeal with the Supreme Court;

    7. Noteworthy is the fact that when your erstwhile commissioner signed the warrant of deportation against Surjit Bassi, the name of Surjit Singh was obviously added which, the rules on procedure clearly proscribe being a material amendment;

    8. Just recently, Mr. Surjit Singh sought the opinion of the Secretary of Justice anent the obvious manipulation of BI records in trying to railroad their own proceedings in trying to pin him down to be the subject of an SDO. The SOJ upon fair appreciation of the true facts surrounding the assailed Charge Sheet, SDO and Warrant of Deportation, issued a Memorandum directing the Commissioner of Immigration and the Chief of the BI intelligence Division to cease from implementing the dubious orders and ordered an investigation on the illegal addendum that was made to the prejudice of my client and friend, Surjit Singh;

    9. By the way, Surjit Singh is not the president of the Cebuano – Indian Friendship Association contrary to your claim. Records show that a certain MUKESH KUMAR is in fact the president of that organization.

    Indeed, the foregoing shows the propensity and inclination of Anonymouse in concocting lies in order to discredit a person. Clearly, his motive in posting his comment in the pretext of being a concerned citizen is suspect in the highest form. Now tell me, who has been convicted and who convicted who? Honestly, I was not paid to do this, are you?

    Mr. Mouse spoke of demoralization among the ranks in the BI especially the Intelligence Division. However, no specific reason was advanced to bolster his claim. I can only surmise that perhaps demoralization may have been caused by some agents’ inability to harass and extort money from new entrant Indians as the latter have been properly documented and admitted in the country courtesy of the Visa upon Arrival program of the BI? Or you may want to speak of the demoralization of some IO’s in the airport simply because they have lost and continue to lose millions of pesos in escort racket as the same have been virtually put to stop as the Indian and Chinese milking cows can now enter the country with proper documents and visa? That to me Mr. Mouse is the essence of Visa Upon Arrival. It eliminated human smuggling in the airport and reduced extortion adventures by the Intelligence vultures.

    Finally Mr. Mouse, who do you represent? Are you a friend or counsel of those sour graping DISMISSED employees like the fat guy cowboy or the fat girl on xxx or the abu sayyaf? Or somebody who is associated with the ousted president of a religious organization or his kin? JUST ASKING.

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  7. Anonymous10:17 AM

    I cn give evidence that their was indeed illegalities in the VUAP- Visa upon arrival program. Just let me know where I can send it. As a matter of fact I m prepared to expose the whole scam before the congress and the senate of the philippines. They falsified many of the documents and the signatures.

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  8. Anonymous2:49 PM

    the so called sponsors of Indians are not all legitimate organizations. mostly of them were of questionable reputation and have been engaged in human smuggling. Moreover, the officials of said organizations have used faked documents to get genuine immigration documents to legitimize their stay in the Philippines. Atty. Oca you should be disbarred for lying flagrantly even you know that surjit singh was all behind the 2,400 smuggling of indians with the blessing of Smuggling Lord Marcelino Libanan! Atty. Oca pity you country and government for being victimized be your corrupt client and friend Libanan.

    Atty Shirly you sound like you Smuggling Lord Libanan who does not know right from wrong; that what matter most is dirty money to feed a family. Your being a lawyer should not be an excuse to defend corrupt prublic official as it violates morality, dear.

    Evidences agains Libanan et al are documents that they could not impeach even in the court of Satan. Stop trying to right the wrong and devious deeds of criminal surjit and corrupt Libanan. It is only the fool that you can mislead, darling.

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  9. People sometimes get carried away by money and so commit this type of fraud that the only thing that they themselves are harmed anyone. It's a shame because it can't be trusted in these areas the government for fear that more people are also committing fraud!

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  10. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Very simple to verify. just check all the records and asked the persons concerned. I believe they even faked the signatures of several people involved. Dapat ito Senate investigation

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  11. Anonymous9:17 AM

    putang ina yan si atty oca at atty charo bakit ang atty nag pa assign as immigration officer sa counter despite their being lawyers. To facilitate the human smuggling of surjit singh from india

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