By Ferdinand G. Patinio
MANILA, July 28 (PNA) — Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Siegfred Mison ordered an investigation on the unauthorized release from custody of at least 22 Chinese nationals who were apprehended in Pasay City last week.
The probe will focus on why only 169 out of the 191 suspected illegal foreign workers were taken to the bureau’s main office for inquest proceedings.
The 191 foreign nationals were caught in the act of working as call center agents/online gambling operators in an office building in Pasay City on July 21.
With this, BI spokesperson Elaine Tan said that Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison has ordered concerned officers to explain in writing on the matter.
“This matter is taken very seriously by the Commissioner. He has ordered the concerned officers to submit a written explanation on the discrepancies in the number of apprehended subjects,” she said.
It was revealed that 21 of those released without authority had Cagayan Economic Zone Authority special visas (CEZA visas) while one appeared to be unaccounted, or missing.
But, Tan said that, “CEZA visas are company- and station-specific.”
“Mere possession of this particular visa does not automatically absolve the holder of any liability under immigration laws. The company and the place of work must still be established in order to validate that the visa is legitimately used,” she said.
Upon investigation, 14 more foreign nationals were released from custody after they presented valid work visas.
A total of 155 foreign nationals were charged for working without permit, and subsequently transferred to BI’s holding facility in Bicutan, and at the Philippine Immigration Academy in Clark, Pampanga, for temporary custody pending deportation proceedings. (PNA)