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Corruption at Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines

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Old 09-16-2010, 10:21 AM
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Default Corruption at Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines


The drive to rid the Bureau of Immigration’s Cebu unit may have hit a sandbar due to certain powerful politicians, supposedly allies of President Noynoy Aquino, who are interfering with the mopping up operations initiated by the new leadership in the person of officer-in-charge Roy Ledesma.

While the clean-up drive in Manila has already shifted to high gear, the situation pertaining in Cebu City still has to achieve lift-off with the incessant meddling of personages identified with the political parties that helped Aquino get elected to the presidency who are said to be blocking the top-to-bottom revamp that Ledesma wants to implement.

Just last week, Ledesma, with the go-signal from his boss Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, sacked 39 BI employees and suspended 23 others as part of the ongoing purge he was tasked to implement to rid the BI of corrupt and inept people.

This move comes exactly a month after the head of the BI-Airport Operations Division Ferdinand Sampol, as well as his right hand man, Ninoy Aquino International Airport intelligence chief Jun Berberabe were canned when they were implicated by various non-government organizations (the Blas Ople Center for one) in alleged human trafficking activities.

Sampol, a protégé and classmate at the Ateneo de Manila of Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Mikey Arroyo, immediately filed a leave of absence after getting his marching orders from Ledesma and left for a vacation in the United States. Sources in the Immigration bureau claimed he is now the subject of a lifestyle check by the Office of the Ombudsman for unexplained wealth in allegedly owning a multi-million Jollibee franchise as well as various real estate properties, townhouses and expensive cars.

While viewed as laudable, the firestorm started by Ledesma falls sorely short of expectations because, to our knowledge, this has barely made a dent on the operations of human smuggling syndicates at the NAIA — made up of shady Immigration and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) people who fall under the jurisdiction of the Justice department — that facilitate the entry of illegal aliens for hefty fees ranging upwards of P200,000 per head, depending on the “urgency” of the situation.

A case in point is this one regarding a certain Ezekiel Lok, reportedly a Malaysian carrying an Australian passport, who arrived at the NAIA last July 23. NBI agents led by this “Ross Bautista” were said to have arrested the subject immediately upon disembarking based on a tip that he was carrying spurious travel documents.

It had been brought to our attention that the office of Secretray Leila de Lima is currently investigating certain NBI agents for releasing the Malaysian that very same day upon the intercession of an unnamed NBI deputy director.

Lok was reportedly able to secure falsified marriage and birth certificates to make it appear he was a Filipino citizen after forking over the huge cash requirements of his NBI and BI handlers. It was noted that while Lok’s documents indicated he was born to Filipino parents Alfredo Lok and Norma Reyes in Agusan del Norte on July 8, 1961, he couldn’t speak one word in Pilipino or for that matter any local dialect while being questioned at the NAIA.

Lok is in now in the country, free as a bird, thanks to corrupt BI and NBI officials. He is one of several thousands. And this has been going on for years now, in various ports all over the country such as the NAIA, Mactan-Cebu International Airport and Diosdado Macapagal International Airport which are the normal entry and exit points of all illegal aliens and undocumented OFWs. So you can just imagine the huge amounts of money these criminal human trafficking gangs have been making.

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Old 09-16-2010, 10:21 AM
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Unhappy Re: Corruption at Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines

De Lima urges employees to clean up immigration bureau

By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has called on employees of the Bureau of Immigration to support the “house-cleaning” efforts being undertaken to eradicate corruption and reform the agency.

In a message to employees on the bureau’s 70th anniversary, De Lima hailed the the agency for taking significant steps to combat corruption. Her speech was delivered by Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III.

De Lima noted that the “process of cleaning house” was already well underway even as she underscored the need to build up the momentum for reform so it would “snowball to greater effect.”

She conceded, however, that cleaning the bureau was not an easy task and that, in certain cases, resistance would be fierce. She added that resistance was expected from individuals who benefited for years from the “corrupt and crooked” status quo.

“They will not give up without a fight but neither will we,” De Lima said, as she affirmed her support for recent initiatives implemented in the bureau by officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma.

De Lima added that immigration officers were performing a great service as one of the gatekeepers of the country by filtering the flow of people into and out of the country.

“You help make the first contact, and we therefore look to you to ensure that this contact is one which enhances our reputation and boosts our image in the eyes of the world. There is therefore no place for graft and corruption in the BI,” De Lima said.

Ledesma recently reshuffled the immigration supervisors and immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and at the Mactan and Clark airports.

The revamp was an offshoot of previous reports alleging that some BI personnel had been conniving with human trafficking syndicates in facilitating the departure of undocumented overseas Filipino workers via the notorious escort racket at the airports.

Ledesma also sacked 39 BI employees and suspended 23 others who were charged with gross misconduct and other administrative offenses, including extortion.

He also terminated the services of some 350 confidential agents and recalled to their mother units scores of government personnel who were on detail with the bureau.

In August, more than 3,000 would-be OFWs who tried to sneak out of the country with tourist visas
or other questionable documents were either not allowed to board or were taken off planes at the NAIA, and Clark and Cebu airports.

The Philippine government is under pressure from the United States to improve efforts to combat human trafficking.
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