DOJ chief denies secrecy in deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals

February 15, 2011 9:47 am 

MANILA, Feb. 14 — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima denied on Monday allegations that the Philippine government kept secret the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to the People's Republic of China (PROC).

"You have to understand that the deportation proceedings is summary in nature. Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Ronaldo Ledesma issued notices and letters for them (the Taiwanese nationals) to produce their original passports. So, I don't think there's a basis for those accusations," De Lima told reporters in an ambush interview.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is an attached agency of the DOJ.

The BI deported the 14 Taiwanese nationals, along with 10 others, to the PROC on Feb. 2, 2011.

The PROC considers Taiwan (formerly Formosa) only as one of its provinces.

The 24 foreigners were arrested on Dec. 27, 2010 for their alleged involvement in a multi-million-dollar investment scam using the Internet and mobile gadgets. The arrests were made upon the request of the PROC.

The deportation was made despite attempts by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) officials and lawyers to have the 14 Taiwanese brought to Taiwan, and despite the Philippine Court of Appeals' (CA) issuance of a writ of habeas corpus on six of the 14 Taiwanese nationals.

In the writ, the CA ordered the BI to produce the six Taiwanese nationals before the CA on February 2, 2011.

However, the BI deported the 24 foreigners, including the 14 Taiwanese nationals, also on February 2.

The CA has directed Ledesma to explain why he should not be cited in contempt for defying the court's order. (PNA)



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