PNoy scolds BI during anniversary

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2012 03:22 PM | Updated as of Sep 11 2012 11:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Officials and employees of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) got a public dressing down from the President during the celebration of the agency's 72nd anniversary in its headquarters in Manila.

In his speech, the President expressed dismay over reports that brothers Joel and Mario Reyes were allegedly able to fly out of the country despite a lookout bulletin issued by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

The Reyes brothers are accused of masterminding the killing of environmentalist broadcaster Gerry Ortega in Palawan.

The President wondered aloud why such high profile personalities were able to escape scrutiny by immigration personnel.

"Paanong diumano nakalabas pa rin sila ng bansa noong ika-18 ng Marso? Sa ganitong mga pagkakataon, inaasahan nating gagawin ng mga nagtatangkang tumakas ang lahat ng paraan para hindi sila mauwi sa kulungan. Hindi po sila magpapakilalang akusado, hindi nila sasabihing kabilang sila sa watch list ninyo, at lalong higit, hindi nilaisusuko ang sarili sa awtoridad," Aquino said.

"Pero kung tatapatan ito ng husay at masinsing pagbabantay ng Bureau of Immigration, magkubli man sa ibang anyo, gumamit man ng ibang pangalan, doktorin man nila ang mga dokumento, mahuhuli pa rin sila.
Kitang-kita sa nangyari ang pagkukulang sa pagtupad sa tungkulin. High profile na nga ang mga salaring ito, ipinalabas sa lahat ng media ang kanilang mukha, pero tila walang kahirap-hirap pa rin silang nakatakas. Puwede po bang mangyari yun nang walang kuntsabahan, at kung walang natutulog sa pansitan? Kung nakakalusot sa batas ang mga kontrobersyal na indibidwal, paano pa kaya yung iba pang di gaanong kilala at gumagawa ng kalokohan?" he added.

The President also expressed disappointment that 358 members of a foreign cybercrime and human trafficking syndicate were able to enter the country.

They have since been arrested by the PNP-CIDG.

"May nahuli na po tayo noong 2010 na apatnapu’t dalawang dayuhang Tsino na sangkot din sa kaparehong krimen. Nagkaroon pa nga po tayo ng malaking isyung diplomatiko ukol rito. Pero imbes na masugpo ang
sindikato, lalo pa silang dumami. Mukhang tuwang-tuwa pa sila sa klase ng paghihigpit na ating ipinapatupad," Aquino said.

"Ipakita po sana nating ginagampanan ng Bureau of Immigration ang kanilang trabaho, at tiyaking hindi makakatuntong ng Pilipinas ang mga manloloko. Tandaan po nating bawat pagkakamali ay maaaring magdulot ng peligro sa buhay at seguridad ng kapwa Pilipino. Kailangan nating ayusin ang bitak sa sistema. Gaano man ka-hi-tech ang mga kagamitan ng inyong ahensya, kung mayroon pa ring mga nag-uunder-the-table, at mga kakuntsaba sa pagsingit ng pekeng papeles, talagang mababalewala ang ating pagbabantay. Walang saysay ang nasa frontline ng depensa, kung nasa reputasyon nito ang pagpapabaya, at kung lalamya-lamya ito sa paglaban sa baluktot na kalakaran," he added.

The President also spoke about the case of Kim Tae Dong who was was supposed to be deported back to
South Korea for defrauding his fellow citizens some $8 million.

Kim disappeared after escaping from a hospital where Immigration officers were also posted.

He said this was clearly a product of conspiracy and said that no excuse is acceptable. He warned that those responsible would be held accountable.

"Malinaw na may kuntsabahang naganap at wala ritong palusot na katanggap-tanggap. Pasensyahan na lang sa mga mapapatunayang nagpabaya, at nagsabwatan: walang sisinuhin ang batas sa inyo," Aquino said.

In an earlier speech, BID Commissioner Ricardo David said the agency will not hesitate to investigate and punish erring officials and employees.

He said since he assumed office in 2011, 36 personnel have been dismissed from the service, 6 "dropped from rolls", and 41 suspended.

Nevertheless, the President said the government is doing its part to provide the agency with its needs and the personnel with their benefits.

But the President said overtime pay of Immigration personnel serving in the airport should not be borne by airline companies.

"Naniniwala po akong hindi na ito dapat pang maging
dagdag-pasanin ng mga airlines at iba pang mga pribadong kumpanya. Kabilang lamang po sila sa mga nararapat nating tulungan bilang tulay natin sa pagpasok ng mga turista at, gayundin, bantayan kung sumusunod sila sa ating mga alituntunin," he said.

"Lilinawin ko lang po: hindi namin binabalewala ang inyong pagseserbisyo; patuloy ang ating pagsusumikap upang siguruhin na makakatanggap kayo ng karampatang kabayaran na naaayon sa batas," he added.

He challenged the personel of the BID to step up and contribute to efforts to reform the old and corrupt system.