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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has called on Congress to pass a law that would stop the scheme where some foreigners in the Philippines have cases filed against them to avoid deportation.
“We respectfully seek the wisdom of the Congress [House of Representatives] and Senate to pass legislation to stop this abusive practice,” DOJ spokesperson Assistant Mico Clavano told reporters on Wednesday, October 11. “The DOJ is willing to provide all the necessary statistics, case studies and other relevant information for consideration of the esteemed congressmen and senators.”
During the Senate hearing on the proposed DOJ 2024 budget on Monday, October 9, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla revealed that some foreigners fabricate cases against themselves to prevent deportation. According to their count, Remulla said that around half of erring foreigners had cases filed against themselves.
“The ‘Demanda Me‘ (sue me) scheme revealed by Secretary Remulla at the Senate budget hearing is something that we, at the department, have been guarding against and have been building reforms against. Several embassies have come to the DOJ to seek help to deport fugitives back to their jurisdiction,” Clavano said.
After reviewing these cases, Clavano said they saw a pattern where complaints were immediately filed against foreigners who had just been turned over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI). Foreigners who have committed violations are normally placed under the BI’s custody.
“Usually, the cases are that of ‘violence against women and children’ or estafa. Yet, upon strict scrutiny of the evidence on hand as well as intelligence reports, it is found that these cases are either very weak or absolutely fabricated,” the DOJ spokesperson said.
“As such, the filing of weak or fabricated cases is their desperate attempt to stay their deportation,” he added.
According to immigration rules, a foreigner cannot be deported from the Philippines if she/he has pending criminal cases. The case should be resolved or terminated first before the foreigner can leave the country.
The scheme revealed by the justice department is similar to Remulla’s exposé back in January. The DOJ chief said in January that some lawyers file “invented” and “contrived” complaints deliberately to keep their clients from being deported.
Similar to Clavano’s statement, Remulla then said that some lawyers specifically use Republic Act No. 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, adding that they discovered the scheme when they deported two Chinese nationals who had contrived cases that were later dismissed. – Rappler.com