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Panel formed to probe Korean man’s escape


Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has formed a three-member fact-finding panel to investigate last week’s escape from the country of a South Korean fugitive.

In Department Order No. 26 issued on Tuesday, De Lima appointed Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Aileen Marie Gutierrez head of the panel with National Bureau of Investigation agents Jonathan Mengullo and Don Hernandez as members.

De Lima’s order followed President Aquino’s directive to investigate Bureau of Immigration (BI)officers who may have helped Park Sung-jun escape through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on March 19.

Unrecorded departure

The panel has been tasked with finding out how Park’s departure apparently went unrecorded despite his being on the BI’s blacklist since July 2012 as an undocumented and undesirable alien.

Park was wanted in his country in connection with a $25-million investment scam. He was detained at the BI jail in Taguig City after his passport was cancelled by Korean authorities. He was also the subject of deportation proceedings following a request from the South Korean embassy in Manila.

Park, however, was able to get out of detention and even obtain a working visa. Last week, he was able to buy a Philippine Airlines ticket to Seoul but he was arrested upon landing by Korean authorities who decried not being advised by Philippine officials about his trip.

Within 30 days

De Lima instructed the panel to submit within 30 days a report on its findings and recommendations, including the criminal and administrative charges that may be filed against those found liable.

The panel was also directed to coordinate with the BI, particularly acting intelligence chief Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, on any information and evidence they may have.

De Lima earlier met with Mangrobang and Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David to hear their explanation about Park’s escape. The secretary later said at least six immigration officers and personnel may have been involved, with one of them being recalled to the BI main office.

Gutierrez was also the lead prosecutor in the case involving immigration agents charged with conspiring with a human trafficking ring to spirit out undocumented workers through Clark International Airport in 2010.

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Tags: Aileen Marie Gutierrez , Bureau of Immigration , Don Hernandez , Jonathan Mengullo , Leila de Lima , Ma. Antonette Mangrobang , Ninoy Aquino International Airport , Park Sung-jun escape , South Korean fugitive

  • victor1052

    The south koreans and other countries must be laughing at us for mismanaging our government. So helplessly inept that even government officials are not afraid to commit crimes repeatedly without fear of punishment. Talagang hopeless and lawless.

  • vaporub123

    halata naman na pera ang gumalaw ng makalusot ang koreano.malinaw at alam naman ng sambayanan filipino ang kalakaran sa immigration na pera pera lang.yan panel na yan ay tiyak whitewash ang kakalabasan.

  • observer1356

    tsk tsk tsk… maraming OFWs na naman ang pahihirapan ng mga taga-BI nito… yong mga dayuhan ang binibigyan nila ng pabor, pero maraming mga OFWs ang inaabot ng perwisyo dahil sa ‘preventive actions’ at ‘profiling’ nilang palpak na ang madalas nakakawala ay yong may perang pangsuhol at mga kakutsaba nila…

  • mars

    Bakit hindi gawin parang sa PNP, pag may nangyaring kapalpakan sa area nya suspended ang hepe habang iniimbestigahan .

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