THE Chinese government has sent three policemen to the Philippines to escort suspected Chinese crime lord Wang Bo back to China for prosecution over his alleged illegal transnational gambling operations and money laundering, a source close to the Chinese Embassy said Sunday.
The source, who requested anonymity, said the Chinese Embassy was “getting concerned because Wang is able to do to delay his deportation not just through his lawyer but also through his partners in crime.”
The source did not name Wang’s alleged partners in crime but Abakada Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz said during a congressional hearing last week that the president of ELC Technologies and Consulting Inc., Wang’s employer, was also tagged by the Chinese Embassy as a fugitive.
Zhao Yin, ELC president, was also put on the Immigration watch list and blacklist upon the request of the Chinese Embassy.
Wang admitted knowing Zhao and confirmed that Zhao was his boss. The ELC, he said, was granted a Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) permit, and ran a legitimate company operating like a call center, whose office is based in Makati.
The three Chinese policemen arrived in the Philippines last week, the source said.
“The Chinese government closely follows the Wang Bo case and is very concerned why the deportation of Wang is taking so long,” the source told The Standard.
The source said the Chinese Embassy has relayed to Beijing that a summary deportation order was issued against Wang by the Bureau of Immigration’s Board of Commissioners composed of Commissioner Siegfred Mison and Deputy Commissioners Gilberto Repizo and Abdullah Mangotara on March 5 after Wang was intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Feb. 9.
At the Tuesday’s hearing of the House committee on good government and public accountability, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she found it “curious and unusual” that Wang’s deportation proceedings took 47 days, when the usual proceedings only took five to 15 days.
On June 10, De Lima said she ordered the creation of a special probe team comprised of agents of the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the “so many curious controversies” surrounding the Wang Bo case.
De Lima expressed frustration that Wang’s deportation was being hampered by the investigation being conducted by the House.
The Justice secretary said she could not implement the deportation order because Wang’s testimony was needed in the congressional probe.
“The Chinese policemen were sent here and tasked to secure Wang Bo to bring him back to China so he can face his criminal charges there. He was declared a fugitive and an undesirable and undocumented alien by the Chinese government due to his illegal gambling operations in China and in the Philippines. The Chinese Embassy was expecting that after the hearing, Wang would be turned over to the Chinese Embassy,” the source said.
Accompanied by his lawyer Dennis Manalo, Wang, in handcuffs, was brought to the House to testify if indeed his representative had met with Immigration officials, who allegedly asked for money in exchange for his freedom.
Wang and Manalo both denied meeting with any of the top three Immigration officials.
But Mison, recanting his earlier denial of The Standard story, admitted being interviewed by The Standard and told the panel that his “source” about the meeting was “a friend of the Chinese Embassy,” journalist Benny Antiporda, a member of the Chinese community and vice president of the National Press Club.
The panel investigating the Wang case invited Antiporda to the next hearing on July 7. Antiporda said he would recount how he managed to get hold of the information that Wang’s representative met with the bureau officials.
Mison had earlier told The Standard that after that meeting, “Repizo and Mangotara changed their tune and aggressively pushed for the reversal of the March 5 summary deportation order in favor of the May 21 release order.”
Mison said it was Repizo who authored the May 21 release order. Repizo asserted that Wang needed to be released because the Chinese Embassy failed to provide authenticated documents about Wang’s alleged criminal activities.
Upon learning that a release order was issued, the source said that on May 22, the Chinese Embassy sent evidence to prove that Wang had laundered money from China to the Philippines to expand his illegal gambling operations through “Skybet” in Manila.
On May 26, Chinese Embassy police attaché Yu Fuyein went to the Bureau to meet with Mison and submit more documents.
Mison called for a special agenda meeting of the Board of Commissioners and tried to set aside the May 21 release order. Only Mison signed the reversal order, however. Repizo and Mangotara maintained their position that Wang should be given back his freedom.
Mison brought the matter to De Lima. The Chinese Embassy also sent a letter of protest to De Lima and submitted the same documents that were submitted to Mison.
On May 27, De Lima upheld Mison and issued an order to “hold in abeyance” the May 21 release order and directed that the March 5 summary deportation order be reinstated.
Manalo said he was not officially informed about the three Chinese policemen sent to secure his client.
He also said he had no idea if Wang was already released from isolation and made to rejoin other inmates at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.
Manalo asked Mison, through the panel, to allow Wang to get out of his five-by-eight-meter cell to and do some exercises and get some morning sunlight.
Mison said he was not aware of any order to place Wang in isolation but that he would look into it.
Among the “curious” incidents that De Lima said merited investigation was how the BI officials failed to detect the anomaly that a certain Jose Chua, complainant against Wang for a P3 million estafa case, and Wang had the same lawyer, Bryan Bantilan.
Chua, in a letter-complaint, had asked Mison to defer Wang’s deportation because he is facing an estafa case in Manila.
Wang denied knowing his complainant and lawyer. He said he had never met either Chua or Bantilan.
Chua and Bantilan have also been invited to the next hearing by the House panel on good government and public accountability.
“The circumstances behind the Chua and Bantilan modus operandi only show that someone else is orchestrating the delay in the deportation of Wang. Someone else is moving the money to make these things happen,” the source said.
The source said Wang, who claimed to be getting only P25,000 in salaries a month as a technical consultant from ELC, could not possibly afford a high-caliber lawyer like Manalo.
Manalo told the panel he was not accepting a client mainly for monetary considerations.
“It is for this reason that Wang was placed in isolation and De Lima herself ordered that no one could see Wang without first securing a clearance from her,” the source said.
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