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Metro

BI execs lock horns anew

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Siegfred Mison is at loggerheads again with Associate Commissioner Gilbert Repizo, ordering him to explain within 24 hours why a blacklisted Korean fugitive was not sent back to his port of origin.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mison said Repizo should give a full report on why Lim Hojun, who is wanted for fraud in Korea, was sent back to his country. 

“We are directing Repizo to explain within 24 hours why he chose to ignore the law,” Mison said.

Lim reportedly flew in from Guangzhou, China on Saturday and was excluded due to a blacklist order based on an Interpol red notice.

However, instead of sending him back to his port of origin, which is Guangzhou, he was put on a flight to Seoul, South Korea on Monday.

As the commissioner in charge of port operations, Repizo has exclusive authority over the issuance of exclusion orders. 

Mison said Associate Commissioner Abdullah Mangotara, who was officer-in-charge of the BI when he was on leave last Saturday, specifically instructed that Lim should go through deportation proceedings, in case the Korean government wants to take him in custody.

In the statement, Mison said exclusion and deportation are two different proceedings, as stated in the Philippine Immigration Act.

Exclusion directs the return of the passenger to the port of origin while in deportation, the BI board of commissioners may decide if the subject should be taken to the port of origin, the country of origin, the country of residence or the country of nationality. The proceedings cannot be interchanged or mixed to get to the desired result.

Repizo said Mison “is making an issue out of nothing. This is not the first time that a fugitive was sent back to his country.”

He said that when Mison controlled airport operations, Dutchman Joris van Ewijk, an alleged sex offender, had left the Philippines for Indonesia last November.

The BI immediately coordinated with Indonesian immigration officials to inform them of Van Ewijk’s record, and he was sent back to the Philippines.

Repizo said Van Ewijk was excluded and sent to the Netherlands, in coordination with the Dutch police. 

The rules on exclusion proceedings provide that excluded passengers may be sent back to the last port of origin, to their country of nationality, or their country of residence, Repizo said.

Last year, a House of Representatives inquiry found Mison was in conflict with Mangotara and Repizo. Mison said the two officials prevented the deportation of Wang Bo, who arrived in the Philippines from Malaysia.

Wang, wanted in China for illegal gambling and allegedly embezzling $100 million, was deported in August when then justice secretary Leila de Lima denied his appeal to stop his deportation.

Repizo was accused of accepting bribes to reverse an order to deport Wang. He denied the allegation.

ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER ABDULLAH MANGOTARA

ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER GILBERT REPIZO

BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION

COMMISSIONER SIEGFRED MISON

COUNTRY

DUTCHMAN JORIS

GUANGZHOU

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MISON

REPIZO

VAN EWIJK

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