2 of 4 Japanese fugitives cleared for deportation – DOJ

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Two of four Japanese fugitives wanted in their country for a string of robberies in Tokyo may be deported soon, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced yesterday.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the Japanese fugitives have been cleared for deportation.

Remulla said they could be deported ahead of their compatriots, who are facing at least eight criminal complaints.

He added the DOJ would revise the rules on deportation after a study noted some gridlocks in the bureaucracy of the department and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) .

The DOJ has failed to secure the dismissal of the complaint for violence against women and children filed against one of the Japanese fugitives believed to be “Luffy,” the alleged leader of a robbery ring in Tokyo.

This was confirmed by Yuki Watanabe’s lawyer Eljun Rico.

Watanabe was identified by a DOJ briefer as Luffy, who is accused of masterminding a series of robberies in Tokyo while being held at the BI detention facility at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

“The motion to dismiss was raised by the prosecution but it was denied by a Pasay City court,” Rico told reporters.

The hearing will resume on Feb. 7.

This development complicates the DOJ’s plan to have the “contrived” cases filed against the Japanese fugitives dismissed.

Earlier, Remulla said the cases filed against the Japanese fugitives are believed to be a dilatory tactic to complicate their deportation proceedings.

The Japanese government had asked the DOJ to deport the four fugitives at the same time.

Asked whether the charges against his clients, including fugitive Tomonobu Saito, are contrived, Rico said, “It is up to the court to appreciate whether the evidence presented is genuine.”

Meanwhile, Remulla ordered an investigation of immigration personnel who allegedly allowed the detained fugitives to continue communicating with outside parties through smartphones, which are prohibited.

“We will not spare anybody who was complicit in allowing fugitives from justice to have access to means of communication, especially if their business is a fraud,” he said.

The BI said detainees are only allowed to use gadgets with prior approval from the immigration commissioner.

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