US cancels visas of RP officials in espionage case
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2008 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The US government has canceled the visas of six current and former Philippine officials implicated in an espionage case in Washington, ABS-CBN reported yesterday.

Deposed President Joseph Estrada denied initial reports that he was among those whose visas were canceled. Estrada told The STAR that he had just been interviewed at the US Embassy’s consular section in connection with his visa application.

US Embassy Press Attache Rebecca Thompson declined comment, saying all visa matters are “private and confidential.”

Former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla received a letter from the US Embassy in June last year, informing him of the cancellation of his visa.

The letter cited the US Immigration and Nationality Act, which “prohibits the issuance of a visa to anyone who seeks to engage in espionage against the US, as well as for sabotage and/or illegal export from the US of goods, technology and sensitive information.”

Remulla said he has appealed his case and reapplied for a visa.

ABS-CBN News, quoting a close Estrada associate whose visa was canceled, said from 15 to 20 opposition figures implicated in the espionage case have suffered the cancellation of their visas.

The opposition figures were believed to have received information stolen by Filipino-American intelligence analyst Leandro Aragoncillo from files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Aragoncillo, who worked in the office of US Vice President Dick Cheney, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage by a federal court in New Jersey in July last year.

Former Philippine police officer Michael Ray Aquino was also arrested and sentenced in connection with the case. Aquino was detailed with the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force during the Estrada administration, working under Panfilo Lacson who is now a senator. Aquino fled after being implicated in the kidnapping and murder of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito. – Marichu Villanueva, Pia Lee Brago

AQUINO DEPOSED PRESIDENT JOSEPH ESTRADA EMBASSY PRESS ATTACHE REBECCA THOMPSON EMMANUEL CORBITO FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FORMER CAVITE REP FORMER PHILIPPINE GILBERT REMULLA
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