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Two other Japanese fugitives in 'Luffy' case deported

The Philippine government on Wednesday evening deported the remaining two Japanese fugitives who are wanted for alleged theft in their country.

Tomonobu Saito and Yuki Watanabe, pointed to as the mastermind “Luffy” by the Japanese police, were sent back to Japan at 12:05 a.m.

“The two deportees stayed at the warden facility the entire day. They prepared for this day at the warden facility and we had a full team to ensure that they remain safe during their travel,” Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a press conference.

On Tuesday, the government deported Toshiya Fujita and Kiyoto Imamura.

According to Sandoval, Philippine authorities have yet to receive a confirmation on whether one of the four is Luffy but maintained that they have been “tagged as prime suspects” in the Luffy case.

Justice spokesperson Mico Clavano  said that Luffy could be one of the four Japanese fugitives.

“So it could be one of the four. It’s possible also that it’s not one of the four. We need the Japanese government to be the one to identify who Luffy,” Clavano said.

Contrived cases

Meanwhile, Clavano said the Department of Justice will address the issue of the suspected filing of contrived cases with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Bureau of Immigration.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla previously said he believes that some of the pending cases filed against the Japanese nationals are contrived to prevent them from being deported.

“Well, the secretary mentioned yesterday and again today that we will be doing an inventory with the help of Commissioner Tansingco,” Clavano said.

“This inventory is supposed to, siguro sweep, and do an inventory of all the cases filed against these deportees so that we can evaluate whether these cases are filed for the purpose of hindering or preventing deportation,” he added.

Certainty of conviction

Clavano said the DOJ is also working with the Supreme Court on a “case build-up rule” that aims to increase the evidence provided in Court.

“So instead of filing cases on the basis of probable cause, now the prosecutors have to gather more evidence so that the only cases that are filed in court are those quality cases with evidence enough already to produce that burden or that standard of evidence called reasonable certainty of conviction,” he said.

Further, he said they will also push for the creation of a Prosecution Integrity Board which will provide either incentives or penalties to prosecutors.

Relieved BI employees

Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said they have sent notices to explain to the 36 BI employees who were relieved after the Japanese fugitives were found with communication devices.

“The investigation is now ongoing. We are waiting for the answers of the concerned personnel on the notices to explain,” Tansingco said.

He said they will forward the results of the preliminary investigation to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.

According to Sandoval, they may forward the results to the DOJ within this week or early next week.

“Usually the notice to comment is if I'm not mistaken is 72 hours from the time it was issued. so probably within the week or early next week, it will be forwarded to the Department of Justice,” she said.—LDF, GMA Integrated News