MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday advised the parents of 3 girls allegedly molested by a Chinese national to file an immigration case against the foreigner.
"That's two separate proceedings po para ma-effect po natin ang full force of the law," said BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval.
(That's two separate proceedings to effect the full force of the law.)
An inquest proceeding was held last Friday against the suspect, 19-year-old Zhang Yang. The foreigner is facing acts of lasciviousness charges for molesting the 3 victims--all 18-years old--while inside a theme park in Pasay City.
In an interview on DZMM, Sandoval said they could initiate a deportation case against the suspect.
"Pwede rin silang mag-file ng immigration charge para ma-deport po natin 'yan at ma-blacklisted sa Pilipinas kasi hindi po natin tino-tolerate ang mga ganitong actions ng mga foreigners dito sa bansa," Sandoval said.
(They can also file an immigration charge to deport and blacklist the suspect from the Philippines because we do not tolerate such actions by foreigners in our country.)
She added that the visa is not a free pass for foreigners to abuse locals. The agency will likewise look into the visa of the suspect, who is reportedly an employee of an online casino.
"Kung ang employer n'ya po ay nag e-employ ng illegal alien--halimbawa po pumasok ng walang proper visa, nagtatrabaho ng walang proper permit --that's liable under the Philippine Immigration Act. Meron po silang pananagutan," she stressed.
(If his employer employsan illegal alien--without the proper visa and work permit--that's liable under the Philippine Immigration Act.)
POLICE PROCEDURE QUESTIONED
Meanwhile, the victims' parents were disappointed at how police officers handled the case.
"Hindi namin na feel kasi that we were protected in that substation. Parang kami pa yung may kasalanan, parang nakaka-disappoint lang. Hindi tama yung ganung procedure," Sharon, a mother of one the victims, said in the same interview.
(We didn't feel protected in that substation. We felt like we were the ones at fault. We were disappointed. That wasn't the right procedure.)
Sharon recalled that an arresting officer tried to convince the victims to just settle with the foreigner. One of the victims told them that they were convincing them to settle, and since they are all 18-years old, need not call their parents anymore.
"Sa mga bata, para sa kanila iniisip nila na OK na..magkano, tinanong sila Sinabi daw na P300 to P500 na lang daw. Sabi ng arresting officer, 'Ay hindi...mga P20,000 lang yan, paano naman kami?' Yun ang sabi ng arresting officer," she said.
(To the kids, they thought it was already OK. So they were asked how much. They said P300 to P500 but the arresting officer said no, and said P20,000 will do. What about us? The arresting officer said.)
They too were being convinced to settle since the case is bailable. But they refused and would rather see the suspect in jail for his actions.
"Kailangan talaga siyang maparusahan. Nandito siya pero wala siyang pakialam. Hindi siya gumagalang kahit na sino."
(He should be punished. He doesn't care and does not respect anyone.)
"Ise-settle? Na parang yung mga Pilipino bayaran? Hindi ko matanggap yun na ganun kaliit ang tingin nila sa atin. Kailangan panagutan nila ito," she said.
(To settle? Like Filipinos can be bought? I cannot accept that he thinks too little of us. He needs to be punished.)
They were also bothered by how the police interviewed the girls. The case, they said, should have been handled by the Womens' and Children Protection Desk Unit.
"Imbes na kami yung tulungan niyo, traumatized na yung anak ko, tinatanong nyo pa ng ganyan. Galit na galit yung husband ko dapat girl din ang nagtatanong dun sa mga bata," she said.
(Instead of helping us, they still proceeded with that manner of questioning. My daughter was already traumatized. My husband was so angry. A female cop should be the one to investigate the case.)
NCRPO CHIEF STEPS IN
The case has already reached National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Guillermo Eleazar, who assured the parents a thorough probe.
"Ako po ay naaalarma sa ganyan at iimbestigahan ko po yan para malaman kung anong pulo't dulo niyan. Pagre-reporting ko ngayon yan para malaman kung anong sitwasyon," Eleazar said.
(I am alarmed and I will have it investigated. I will tell them to report today to get to the bottom of this.)
He explained that police officers should not interfere whether an amicable settlement is reached or not especially if it involves sexual violence or other abuse against women.
"Hindi po natin palalampasin yan. Magsisilbi itong lesksiyon sa kanila at warning sa iba kung sakaling mapatunayan natin may pagmamalabis o pagkukulang ang ginagawa ng mga police dyan,” he said.
(We will not let this pass. This will serve as a lesson and a warning to others if proven that they abused or failed in their duties.)