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Saturday, December 9, 2023

PH coordinating with Canada over ex-PNP chief’s immigration issues

The Department of Foreign Affairs is coordinating with the government of Canada after former Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. was held by the latter’s immigration.

The DFA said it was hoping “to get a better understanding of the incident soon” as it already got in touch with Canadian authorities regarding the matter.

Initial reports said Canadian authorities invited Azurin to shed light on the conduct of the drug war in the Philippines.

Azurin said he suspects Police Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia as having “tipped off” Canadian Immigration with “half-truths and many lies.”

“Sermonia had been spreading lies about my alleged ‘deportation.’ Maybe he knows something that everyone in our country does not know. Maybe, it was him who tipped the Canadian Immigration by concocting half truths and many lies and had been hoping that I would be deported. He had been sending messages about my deportation— sorry, but that was not what happened,” he said.

“In due time I will issue my statement and face the media to tell what happened,” Azurin added.

Sermonia, however, denied the accusation, noting that Azurin is not only his mistah but also his brother-in-law.

“There is no reason for me to do what I am being accused of,” Sermonia said.

“My advice is to directly ask the Canadian Embassy what the reason for the questioning was, which made retired PNP Chief Azurin decide to just return to the country as he stated, and not be deported. Canada has its own rules and regulations on border control. So it is best to secure the report from them. The truth will speak for me,” Sermonia added.

House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan on Wednesday sought an explanation from the DFA on why Azurin was reportedly intercepted at the Langley airport in Canada and forced to return to the Philippines.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago, who sponsored the DFA’s proposed P23 billion budget for 2024, said the Philippine Embassy was unable to extend assistance since Azurin voluntarily returned to the Philippines.

“General Azurin went to Canada in his private capacity. Since the trip is not official, our embassy could not extend assistance,” Violago said.

Libanan, however, reminded the DFA of its mandate to ensure that all Filipino citizens abroad are given assistance.

“Just because you are retired already, the government cannot intervene. It is DFA’s obligation to help Filipino citizens abroad,” he said.

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