Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee can still leave PHL —BI spokesperson
Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee and others involved in the alleged mauling of television host Vhong Navarro can leave the country anytime pending the filing of charges and issuance of hold departure orders (HDO) against them.
“Kung walang basehan to hold their departure, hindi namin sila pwedeng pigilan,” Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Maan Pedro told GMA News Online in a phone interview on Wednesday.
She said Cornejo and Lee are not yet included on the list of persons not allowed to leave the Philippines.
“Dapat po may endorsement from the Department of Justice to be included sa HDO at lookout bulletin order (LBO) depending on the case or the discretion of the Secretary of Justice,” Pedro added.
A hold departure order is issued by the Justice Secretary against any person accused with pending criminal cases. It is also issued upon the request of a head of a government agency, a constitutional body or commission, Supreme Court Chief Justice for the judiciary, Senate President or House Speaker for the legislasture, according to the Department of Justice's Circular 41 issued on June 7, 2010.
An LBO's purpose, on the other hand, is to monitor an individual and not necessarily restrict him or her from leaving the country.
The DOJ only started issuing LBOs in 2012, following a restraining order from the Supreme Court, barring the agency from issuing watchlist orders and hold departure orders, pending the resolution of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's petition contesting the DOJ's power to issue such travel restrictions.
Complaints of serious illegal detention, serious physical injury, grave threat, illegal arrest and coercion were filed against Cornejo; Lee; Bernice Lee; Zimmer Raz, reportedly a martial arts expert; and two John Does for allegedly mauling Navarro on January 22.
Cornejo accused Navarro of attempting to rape her which the latter vehemently denied. She also said she is innocent and "a victim." —KG, GMA News