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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Threats to law and order

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Disgusting, to say the least.

It is hard to imagine that learned men of the law, and in government payroll, can be involved in the issuance of pre-arranged employment visa or the so-called 9G given to any foreign national who will be employed in the Philippines.

That foreign national with a 9G visa would be occupying a technical, executive, managerial or highly confidential position in a company.

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval has confirmed four unidentified immigration lawyers found during an investigation to have been involved in the issuance of such work visas have since been relieved pending further investigation.

It appears BI authorities saw there were 116 fake employers, and they also looked into the lawyers who processed their applications as well as the agencies that lodged the applications since there are accredited agencies authorized to transact on behalf of foreign nationals which, on the surface sans deeper probe, may make them in conspiracy if any irregularity is done.

This week, the BI said it recommended the issuance of show-cause orders against the lawyers and the abolition of the Legal Division’s visa task force.

In December 2023, the bureau found 459 applications that were issued visas were petitioned by fake companies. These foreign nationals were blacklisted by the BI.

We do not know how long the investigation would be, but Sandoval said if the lawyers would be found to be directly involved then complaints against them would be recommended before the Department of Justice.

But Sandoval said Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco committed to submitting a report on the investigation to the DOJ by the end of January.

Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla told a news briefing many corporations petitioning for 9G visas were fake or non-existent entities, and these were allowed without validation by the BI legal department.

According to Remulla, the companies given “thousands” of visas were not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and some were related to the Philippine Offshore Gaming Corp. or POGO.

“We’re talking about more than 500 corporations and thousands and thousands of visas issued with the petition of these corporations which had been presumed validated by the legal department and the visa issuing authority of the Bureau of Immigration,” Remulla said.

“It is an affront to our sovereignty that these people have been issuing all of these to them,” he added.

Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Public Services Committee, herself called on the DOJ to get to the bottom of the scheme and hold accountable any erring personnel, saying the issuance is “alarming and poses peace and order threats.”

“We have witnessed how crimes related to POGOs continue to bring problems to our peace and order,” Poe said.

“These nefarious activities will remain unabated if personnel from no less than the Bureau of Immigration will keep the gates open to illegal foreigners,” she added.

We concur.


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