More cases vs Japanese fugitives dismissed; Remulla eyes deportations next week

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2023 02:05 PM

MANILA — More cases against 4 Japanese fugitives have been dismissed as the Justice department hopes to start deporting them by next week.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla told reporters Bacolod courts have junked 2-3 cases involving 2 Japanese nationals who are the subject of a deportation request from the Japanese government.

These cases involve alleged violations of the law on violence against women and their children.

But he declined to provide any more details.

He confirmed however the dismissal of another case, a light threats charge, against a certain Toshiya Fujita before a Taguig court.

Kyodo News earlier named Fujita as among the 4 Japanese under BI custody that the Japanese government requested for deportation, although the Philippine government has not released a complete list of names of the 4 Japanese fugitives.

Taguig Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 116 clerk of court Merly Pagkalinawan, on Friday, disclosed to the media that Fujita has no more pending cases before their court because the prosecution, on January 31, moved to withdraw the case, which the judge granted on February 1.

The case stemmed from Fujita’s alleged threat to file a disbarment case against a Filipino lawyer.

The incident happened on August 20, 2021 and the lights threat case was raffled to the court on October 11, 2021.

Pagkalinawan said they set the case for hearing on November 22, 2021 and March 2, 2022 but neither the private complainant nor Fujita appeared, prompting the court to issue an arrest warrant against him.

“The motion to withdraw stated the ground that there is a consistent absence on the part of the private compainant,” Pagkalinawan said.

“However, the court made an independent study, a revisit of the probable cause, and finds that there is none. That is the reason why the motion is granted and it has the effect of a dismissal of the case,” she added.

She explained the court found no overt acts on the part of accused that would qualify as light threats.

With the dismissal of the charge, the arrest warrant was also lifted.

According to Remulla, the light threats case dismissed on February 1 is “the last document we’re looking for for Fujita so he can leave already,” he said.

The new dismissals mean 7 of 10-11 cases against 4 Japanese fugitives have been cleared and two can now be deported.

The DOJ initially identified Kiyoto Imamura and on Friday, confirmed Toshiya Fujita as among the 4 fugitives.

Two still have pending cases, including Yuki Watanabe, alleged to be Luffy, the ringleader of a robbery group in Japan who supposedly ordered the burglaries through the use of an encrypted messaging app.

The DOJ has not named the 4th Japanese but he was identified as Tomonobu Kojima by Kyodo News.

Watanabe is set to face another hearing on February 7 before a Pasay court in connection with the VAWC case filed against him by his Filipina wife.

Remulla said he hopes to start deportations by next week though it is unclear if the Japanese govt still wants to deport all 4 fugitives at the same time.

“I don’t know if it’s Monday, or it’s Tuesday. But we will definitely start next week. Whatever date is, when we’re ready, when the tickets are there, when the escorts are there, then we start deporting. Because they have to be escorted back to Japan,” he said.

“But we want everybody cleared by next week and we’re working toward that end. But as I said earlier, we are studying the allegations on how serious they are so that we will not be disregarding any rights. Because violence against women law is a very serious, is a very important law and we do not want to be violating any rights,” he added.

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