THE cases filed against the undocumented Chinese nationals who worked at Jack Lam's online gaming operations in Clark, Pampanga, are now submitted for resolution.

Thirty-nine out of the 43 respondents facing charges of illegal gambling and violations of the Anti-Cybercrime Act appeared before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the continuation of the preliminary probe on Friday.

The Chinese nationals who were apprehended last November 24 subscribed and sworn their respective counter-affidavits before the DOJ panel composed of Moises Acayan, Honey Rose Delgado and Wendell Bendoval.

According to the Bureau of Immigration (BI), four respondents who are minors failed to attend the hearing.

The panel has directed the BI Legal Division to disclose the whereabouts of the other four respondents following the manifestation of the DOJ Office of the Cybercrime Division (OCD) represented by its OIC-Director Jed Sherwin Uy to subpoena the officers of the BI legal division.

During the hearing, one of the legal counsels of the respondents, Jonathan Sarte, questioned the criminal charges filed against the respondents.

Sarte said that if the government would want the Chinese nationals be deported, the cases against them must be dropped as it is halting the deportation proceedings.

"The office of the cybercrime is putting a bar on the deportation...They cannot be deported because there is a pending criminal case," Sarte said.

Sarte also suggested that the OCD investigate the corporations and the individuals behind the illegal recruitment and not the Chinese workers.

"They are merely employed by a certain corporation... They are working in Fontana. They have no reason to doubt if there is permit or not," Sarte said.

However, OCD OIC-Director Jed Sherwin Uy in his reply said that the criminal cases filed against the respondents are based on their violation of the Anti-Cybercrime Act, not with the respondents' violation of the Immigration law.

"The arrest was made by virtue of mission order but the criminal case was filed by virtue of arrest warrant... These are two separate actions, which can proceed independently," Uy said.

The respondents who are detained at the BI facility in Bicutan, Taguig City, were among the 1,316 undocumented Chinese nationals arrested at the Fontana Leisure park last November 24.

Only 43 of them are facing criminal charges.

The respondents led by Cheng Jang U and 42 others are occupants of Villa 636 at the Fontana Leisure Park. (SunStar Philippines)