Stopping Sueselbeck's departure is 'due process' - De Lima
MANILA, Philippines - The decision to stop Marc Sueselbeck from leaving the country last October 26 is part of due process, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday, October 27.
By staying here, Sueselbeck, the fiancé of slain transgender Filipino woman Jennifer Laude, will be given the opportunity to answer the Bureau of Immigration (BI) charge that he should be declared an "undesirable alien," according to De Lima.
“While deportation is supposed to be a summary procedure, we are giving him due process," she told reporters. "If we allowed him to just leave, we would not be able to determine if he is really an undesirable alien or not."
Some sectors have criticized the decision to bar Sueselbeck from leaving when he was already at the airport Sunday and had booked a flight back to Germany. Last week, the German national breached security at Camp Aguinaldo, where murder suspect US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton is being held, and pushed a soldier upon entering the compound.
The military complained and asked the BI to declare him an "undesirable alien."
“Once he is placed in the blacklist, he would not be able to enter the country – unless he files a motion or petition for lifting of the blacklist order,” De Lima explained.
Sueselbeck arrived in Manila to attend the funeral of Laude, who was found dead in a motel room in Olongapo City on October 11. Witnesses have implicated Pemberton in the murder, saying it was he who was last seen with Laude hours before she died.
Pemberton a different case
The US Marine was among American soldiers who were in the Philippines for regular joint exercises with Philippine troops.
The Laude family has filed a murder complaint against Pemberton. The BI also filed a case against him for "undesirability" as an alien.
De Lima said the BI has deferred deportation proceedings against Pemberton because of the murder complaint against him before the Olongapo City prosecutor’s office.
“We have to suspend the deportation to give way first to the criminal case. That has been the rule of BI. Even if the BI comes up with its decision on Pemberton, that cannot be immediately enforced pending completion of the criminal proceedings,” she explained.
De Lima said there is no need to confiscate the passport of Pemberton as what the BI did with Sueselbeck, citing rules in the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippine and US governments. (READ: PH reviewing unclear provisions in VFA)
“He (Pemberton) really cannot leave. That’s clear in the VFA,” she explained, addressing the challenge of Laude family’s lawyer Harry Roque Jr, for the BI to also confiscate the US serviceman’s passport. - Rappler.com