Government stops deportation of 300 Taiwanese cybercrime suspects-A A +A
Thursday, September 13, 2012
THE deportation of some 300 Taiwanese wanted in their homeland and in mainland China for large-scale cybercrimes was ordered stopped by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, saying President Benigno Aquino III had ordered a review of their cases.
"President Aquino ordered a review of their cases. Pending results of the review, their deportation will be put on hold. I am preparing a report and recommendation to be submitted to the President," de Lima said.
De Lima confirmed that she did not heed a request from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Tedo), Taiwan's de-facto embassy, to process the release of the Taiwanese who were arrested last August 23 by Philippine authorities, and are now detained at the Camp General Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna.
The Taiwanese were supposed to take two chartered flights on Wednesday. The deportation, however, hit a snag after President's rebuke of Bureau of Immigration on several anomalies during the agency’s anniversary last Tuesday.
In stamping down on the deportation proceedings, De Lima said the government is not totally scrapping their deportation, but it just wanted to know how the foreigners were able to enter the country in the first place.
"We're talking here of about 300 Chinese-Taiwanese nationals. Pinapa double-check lang if indeed deportation is the most viable course of action," she said.
The foreigners were charged for being undocumented and undesirable aliens under Philippine laws. The criminal charges against them bolstered the deportation procedures, despite that there are not enough laws in the country to deal with cyber crimes.
The Department of Justice already filed against them a case for violation of the Access Device Regulation Act, but this is considered a minor crime and a bailable offense.
In May last year, the Philippines and Taiwan almost got embroiled in a diplomatic row after the controversial decision of the DOJ to deport 14 Taiwanese to mainland China to face prosecution for cross-border fraud involving $20 million.
The DOJ's ruling had resulted in Taiwan threatening to mete economic sanctions and recall the employment of overseas Filipino workers there.
The 14 Taiwanese, together with 10 other Chinese nationals, were deported to China to face trial for cross-border fraud by using automated teller machine cards and telecommunications services in order to obtain money by initiating transfer of funds from China to the Philippines.
While the DOJ stood by the Bureau of Immigration in deporting the fugitives, the Philippines still came under fire from Taiwanese government, which demanded a public apology, accusing the Philippines of "succumbing" to pressure exerted by Beijing. It further warned of retaliatory action if the situation is not rectified. (JCV/Sunnex)