Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday said some of the Chinese nationals deported last October 19 said they preferred to be charged in the Philippines so they could prolong their stay in the country.
In a radio interview on Thursday, Remulla said foreigners facing charges cannot be deported under our law since they have to face their cases in court.
“There are many genius lawyers who have been doing that for a long time whenever their clients who are illegal aliens don’t want to be deported,” he said.
“A foreigner who is facing charges under our laws cannot be deported,” Remulla said.
“The foreigners who can be deported are those with no pending cases in the Philippines and their only offense is overstaying,” he said.
Six Chinese nationals deported last Wednesday were identified in the report to Remulla as Yu Min, Nie Zhengbiao, Gan Xueliang, Xu Yuangang, Qian Jie, and Yang Bin.
Remulla said those deported would be facing charges in their own country.
“I don’t know what charges will be filed against them because it will be done under the Chinese legal system,” he said.
During the same radio interview, Remulla said more foreigners who worked with the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) whose licenses had been canceled or who were operating illegally will be deported.
The Justice Secretary said there are about 400 foreigners who are in the custody of the government law enforcement agencies. Their identities are being verified and authenticated with the governments of their countries of origin.
Meanwhile, a key official of the Department of Labor and Employment has told legislators that Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) have indeed provided livelihood to Filipino workers, echoing the appeal of an organization of Filipinos working at the industry and their service providers not to abolish the online gaming platform.
“Filipino workers cannot get the salary that they are getting from POGOs from any local employer. Among the 17,000 are the waiters etc. The helpers receive at least P10,000 a month,” Rosalinda Pineda, chief of the Local Employment Bureau, said.
At the same time, Pineda said the Labor department is prepared to provide several adjustment programs and interventions to help Filipino POGO workers, including their families in the event that POGOs are banned.
A group of Filipino workers employed in POGOs, along with their service providers, earlier appealed to lawmakers not to ban the online gaming platform since this will hurt the livelihood of
local workers. Association of Service Providers and POGOs (Aspap) spokesman Paul Bongco and his fellow lawyer Michael Danganan urged the House of Representatives’ committee on labor headed by Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles to keep POGOs in the country.
“We believe that if the industry is given more chances, we will be able to help not only the economy but also our Filipino workers,” Bongco said, citing as basis the P4.9 billion taxes the government collected from January to August this year alone.
Bongco, who said their group is composed of 16 licensed POGOs and 68 service providers, said they have more Filipino employees than foreign nationals under their employ.
Also on Thursday, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said he Department of Finance view that kidnappings related to POGOs could hurt direct foreign investments in the Philippines was “shallow and superficial.”
At a congressional hearing of the House committee on labor and employment, Salceda said that linking kidnapping and FDI was “a facile approach” to the ongoing POGO issue.
Salceda pointed out that “there are far more factors that affect the flow of foreign direct investments” as he cited ease of doing business and power costs as far more significant concerns for potential investors.
Salceda argued that if the justification for shutting down POGOs was the incidents of crime attributed to the POGO industry, then other industries that attract illegal activity should also be shut down.
“Will I close all the PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) because there’s a lot of smuggling happening there? No!” he said.
Finance Undersecretary Maria Cielo Magno had earlier told the House panel that they had concerns with regard to POGO-related crimes, as these “can have an effect on foreign direct investment.”
Citing a study she did not name, the DOF official said that one crime incidence in every 100,000 population could result in a decrease of gross domestic product by 1 percent.