Immigration chief fired after latest escape by foreigner
MANILA, Philippines—He had it coming.
A Malacañang official on Tuesday told the Inquirer that Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. was shown the door by the President after yet another foreign national facing charges managed to slip out of the country.
On July 8, Canadian Susan Rigby flew out of the Philippines despite a “lookout bulletin” issued by the Department of Justice.
That was the “trigger,” said the official, and four days later David tendered his resignation. The official asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter.
At a Cabinet meeting last week, a peeved De Lima reportedly informed Aquino about David’s latest infraction.
The President was reported to have said: “I’m willing to replace him.”
“It was an accumulation of mistakes” on the part of David, said the Palace official.
In September 2012, the Cebu Daily News reported that immigration officials were on the lookout for a Canadian teacher of Cebu International School (CIS) in connection with the Sept. 12 drowning of two students during a field trip to Bataan.
Rigby has a pending criminal complaint in the DOJ in connection with the incident, being one of the teachers who accompanied the 42 CIS students on the field trip.
For his part, David admitted his assignment to cleanse the Bureau of Immigration of corrupt and inefficient personnel had been a very challenging and difficult one.
He said that as head of the agency for over two years he took responsibility for the lapses.
“I thank the President for giving me the opportunity to serve the bureau,” he said in a statement on Tuesday, hours after Malacañang announced it had accepted his resignation contained in a letter dated July 12.
Last year, during the bureau’s 72nd anniversary celebration, David and his subordinates received a dressing down from Aquino for the disappearance of South Korean Kim Tae Dong and the escape of the Reyes brothers who were wanted in connection with the January 2011 killing of environmentalist Gerry Ortega.
Kim, whose extradition had been sought by South Korea for an $8-million embezzlement case, escaped while under guard by immigration agents from St. Luke’s Medical Center two years ago.
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