BI steps up deportation of foreign fugitives

January 4, 2011 11:14 am 

MANILA, Jan. 4 — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) arrested and deported a total of 15 foreign fugitives from July to December 2010 as the agency stepped up its campaign against aliens wanted for various crimes in their homelands.

The figure was almost double the number of deportations of fugitives in the first half of the year which stood at eight.

Immigration officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma, who was appointed to his post in July by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, said the fugitives are now either undergoing trial or serving their sentences in their countries of origin after being expelled from the Philippines.

The wanted foreigners were arrested by the BI-Interpol unit after hiding in the country for years to evade prosecution, Ledesma said.

They were placed in the blacklist of undesirable aliens and banned from re-entering the country.

Ledesma vowed to pursue without letup the campaign against foreign fugitives, saying, “Our country should not be used as a sanctuary for wanted criminals.”

He said the bureau will continue working with the Interpol and the different foreign missions in Manila to track down foreign fugitives believed hiding in the country.

Americans topped the list of the deported fugitives in the second half of 2010 with 11 deportees followed by two Koreans, one Swede, and one Japanese.

Among the crimes committed by the fugitives in their country of origin were child molestation, incest, sexual battery, embezzlement, fraud, murder, aggravated robbery and military desertion.

BI Intelligence chief Faisal Hussin attributed the successful drive against fugitives to Ledesma’s move of beefing up the manpower and resources of the bureau’s Interpol unit by adding at least six intelligence operatives.

The unit was also placed under his direct supervision. Previously, it was under the office of the commissioner.

An operations team led by BI intelligence officer Jerome Gabionza was also created within the unit for case buildup, surveillance and arrest of fugitives. (PNA)

LDV/FMB

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