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BI to charge Dutchman in Sona protest rally

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration is preparing to file charges against a Dutch activist who joined anti-government protests during President Benigno Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on July 22, according to Immigration officer in charge Siegfried Mison.

Mison said the bureau would file charges against Thomas van Beersum for violating the conditions of his stay in the country after a photo, which went viral on the Internet, showed him berating a Filipino anti-riot policeman who ended up crying during the protest.

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“It appears he committed two grounds for deportation. He came here as a temporary visitor or on a tourist visa so he should have been here only for pleasure, health or business,” Mison said. “What he did during the Sona does not fall under the three categories so that is a violation of his stay.”

He said the other ground for Van Beersum’s deportation was his involvement in an activity against the country’s government.

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Mison said the bureau would summon Van Beersum, who was supposedly still in the country as of Monday, to present his side.

“He will have due process and he could still appeal the findings to the Secretary of Justice or the Office of the President,” he added.

He said the immigration bureau was also coordinating with the police to verify reports that 10 other foreigners were also involved in the anti-government protests.

“I’ve talked to the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) and they are ready to help to determine the identities of these persons,” Mison said.

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TAGS: Aquino Sona, Immigration, Protest, Sona, SONA 2013, Thomas van Beersum
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