BI denies illegally holding American in overstaying caseBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday denied arbitrarily detaining an American it had arrested three years ago for overstaying his visa.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. belied the claim of Walter Francis Groves that the bureau had been violating his rights since his arrest on March 23, 2010.
David said the BI could not allow Groves’ deportation pending the final resolution of his estafa case in the Makati City regional trial court.
While Grove’s case had been “provisionally dismissed,” David said it could still be revived should the parties to the case fail to comply with the compromise agreement reached at the proceedings.
David also cited the contention of prosecutor Roberto Lao—who was assigned to the BI by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima—that under the rules the bureau had to wait two years from the date of the provisional dismissal of the case before Groves could be deported to the United States.
“But if the court would issue a clearance that there was no more pending case against him, we would waste no time and deport him immediately aboard the first available flight to the US,” David said.
He also said he could not approve a bail petition filed by Grove because the deportation order against him was final.
Earlier, Grove filed a complaint against David in the Office of the President, charging that he was being continuously detained by the bureau without a trial.
David said Groves’ allegation was baseless, adding that the American had been accorded due process and was given his day in court with the assistance of a lawyer.
Records showed that immigration agents arrested Groves three years ago. On May 4, 2011, the BI Board of Commissioners ordered his summary deportation for being an “undocumented, improperly documented and overstaying” foreign national.