LAWMAKERS on Tuesday questioned what they described as “flip-flopping” and the “inordinate delay” in the deportation of suspected Chinese crime lord Wang Bo, who is wanted by the Chinese government for illegal gambling and money laundering.
At a hearing conducted by the House committee on good government and public accountability, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas, and Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., said the inordinate delay in deporting Wang strengthened the allegations that money changed hands for his release and even dragged Congress into the controversy when reports surfaced that the money taken from the Chinese fugitive went to bribes to ensure that lawmakers passed the Palace-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“The flip-flopping [on the deportation] adds credence to the alleged bribery charges. It’s confusing, you want to deport him, and then you want to deport him, and then you want to release him,” Romualdez told Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison, and Associate Commissioners Gilberto Repizo and Abdullah Mangotara.
Mison, Repizo and Mangotara all denied the reported P100 million bribe for the campaign of LP and $10 million for lawmakers to pass the BBL.
The committee, headed by Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, conducted the hearing in response to House Resolution 2151 filed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and HR 2156 of Romualdez.
Romualdez questioned why the commissioners reversed their own order to deport Wang on March 5 with a new order to release him on May 21, after the suspect filed a motion for reconsideration.
On May 26, Mison drafted a resolution to overturn the May 21 release order, after the Chinese Embassy said Wang had violated not only the laws in the country, but also in China.
The Standard earlier reported that the May 26 draft resolution was not implemented after Repizo and Mangotara refused to sign it, saying authorities from China failed to present authenticated copies of documents pertaining to Wang.
“Frankly speaking, the BI leaves more questions in my mind... and I am very, very saddened to see how it is performing and I hope that this has not been happening all throughout or further demoralization and more instances of allegations of bribery may occur,” Romualdez said.
Trenas, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, lost his temper after Repizo tried to interrupt him at the middle of his discourse berating the failure of BI to implement the deportation order despite a request from China.
“Will you (Repizo) please allow me to finish my question?! This is the House of Representatives, you understand that!” an irate Trenas said. “China is a sovereign nation and yet you are asking for authenticated copies of documents. You do not believe the letter of Chinese Embassy?” Trenas asked.
“The name of House of Representatives is being dragged in this matter. I can’t understand that commissioners are fighting for the rights of a Chinese national (Wang) whose passport was cancelled. Probably it is more fun in the Philippines,” Trenas told Repizo.
Barzaga also asked Mison, Repizo and Mangotara to explain the circumstances that delay the deportation of Wang.
“The delay in the deportation process raises doubts. Why did it take so long? A motion for reconsideration should be settled in at most 15 days, but in this case it is 40 days. They (the commissioners) have to explain further why Wang Bo was not deported immediately,” Barzaga, head of the National Unity Party (NUP) bloc in the House, said.
South Cotabato Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez, Butil party-list Rep. Agapito Guanlao, and Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento were also dismayed at the bureau’s failure to handle Wang’s deportation without delay.
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