De Lima changes mind, OKs deportation of 300 Taiwanese

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Sep 14 2012 04:55 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2012 09:57 PM

MANILA – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has finally given her green light to the deportation of around 300 Taiwanese involved in cyber crime.

Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesperson Ma. Antonette Mangrobang confirmed the news to

In a text message, Manrobang said: "Yes. Order was relayed to us by our head, Executive Assistant Atty. [Grace] Lara."

This came days after de Lima ordered a halt to the deportation supposedly after President Aquino rebuked the Bureau of Immigration.

She stopped the scheduled flights on Wednesday because she wanted to file criminal charges against them.

Authorities who refused to be named had lambasted the move, however, citing logistics and diplomatic nightmares.

The detainees are experiencing health problems, having been housed in a makeshift detention area for almost a month since they were arrested.

One already died of dengue. The others are suffering from respiratory ailments.

Asked for de Lima's reason for her sudden turnaround, Mangrobang said she would not know. She added there is no definite schedule yet on the flight to Taiwan, having received the order only today.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) shouldered the flight on Wednesday.