GMA News Online

6 Immigration personnel face probe over blacklisted Korean's 'escape'

March 26, 2013 3:07pm

A "fuming mad" President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct an investigation on six individuals who allegedly helped a "blacklisted" Korean national slip out of the country last week.

In an interview with reporters, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Park Sung Jun was able to leave the country last March 18 via the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

"Galit na galit diyan sa insidente si Presidente dahil paulit-ulit na lang may ganyan na nangyayari ng mga being spirited out illicitly in connivance with BI (Bureau of Immigration) personnel. So the President wants to have a full report on this," De Lima said.

Park was facing criminal charges in South Korea involving a $25-million investment scam when he fled to the Philippines. He was placed on the country's Immigration blacklist and ordered deported by for being "undocumented and an undesirable alien."

"Pero bago siya i-deport tumakas na, umalis na," De Lima said, although she added Korean authorities were able to intercept Park at the Seoul International Airport upon his arrival there.

"But of course, it doesnt excuse anyone and precisely the President has directed the DOJ to look into that, investigate and to file charges against those found responsible," De Lima said.

De Lima said that an initial report from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) revealed that certain Immigration officers at the airport was in connivance with the Korean national when he went to the airport around midnight of March 18, for his 1 a.m. flight on March 19.

"[The BI] showed me a video on how it happened at kung paano pinalusot at nakita doon 'yung mga involved also," she said.

De Lima said the footage showed that Park checked in at the airport and headed toward the departure area during the final call for boarding.

"Kitang-kita sa video sa mga CCTV who are possibly involved, 'yung mga nag-aide sa subject ng paglabas," she said, adding that an Immigration officer was seen not putting a stamp on the Korean's boarding pass.

She said details of Park's departure was not even encoded into the Immigration bureau's database.

Among the recent cases when high-profile suspected criminals were able to slip past Immigration officers was when former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother Coron, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes succeeded in flying to Vietnam despite facing a murder case.

The brothers were said to have left the country a day after the Palawan court handling their case issued arrest warrants. From Vietnam, they were reported to have been going back and forth to Thailand and Malaysia. The Court of Appeals had already cleared the two brothers.

De Lima said apart from the six Immigration officers being investigated for Park's departure, authorities will also look into how the foreigner was still able to secure a working visa in the Philippines on the same day he was ordered deported.

"Iyong explanation nila noong una ay binaliktad iyong pangalan and therefore noong chineck sa computer, 'di nag-register," De Lima said.

"[Pero] most probably sinadya 'yan. Sinong may kagagawan niyan? Bakit binabaliktad 'yan at napalusot? So there is really a lot to change in the system of the BI," she said, adding that the involved Immigration officials could have been paid off to facilitate Park's departure.

The BI is an attached agency of the Department of Justice. — KBK, GMA News
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