Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla on Tuesday said at least two of the four Japanese nationals suspected as leaders of a crime syndicate in Japan will be deported within the week.
Remulla said one of the unwanted Japanese nationals may be deported today, February 1, while another may be shipped out on Friday, February 3.
Remulla indicated however, that completion of the deportation proceedings on the remaining two Japanese in Immigration custody depended on how fast the courts can resolve the pending cases against them.
“Hopefully, we can deport two by the end of this week. But the other two, we will see how fast we can act on these matters. Because we will look at the cases pending before the different bodies in the other parts of the country,” he said, in a media briefing.
He later committed to immediately repatriate those that may be deported.
“But my commitment to everybody is: we will deport who we can deport immediately,” Remulla said.
On Monday, the Japanese Embassy formally requested the Philippine government to deport the four individuals wanted by the law in their country. The embassy declined however, to provide further details, not even the names of the suspects.
Remulla said the Bureau of Immigration eyes to finish the deportation proceedings before President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s visit to Japan this February.
“Well, we’re trying to settle the case, to finish these cases prior to the President’s trip so this will not be the focus of media when he goes to Japan because this will be a distraction,” he said.
Remulla also said he was sure that alias Luffy, the alleged mastermind in the series of robberies in Japan, is among the four Japanese suspects.
Meanwhile, the Justice chief said he believes that some of the pending cases filed against the Japanese nationals were contrived to prevent them from being deported.
According to him, this was because the country cannot deport anyone with a pending criminal case in the Philippines.
Remulla noted that three of the Japanese nationals have pending cases in the cities of Taguig, Pasay, and Bacolod.
“Most of the cases, if not all, involved violence against women and children (VAWC)… but we are under the impression that these cases were invented or are not real cases. They were contrived cases filed against them just to keep them in the Philippines,” he said.
Remulla admitted that the cases of the two nationals have been dismissed.
He said one of the cases was filed by a girlfriend of one of the suspects.
“We have it on good word that the person who filed the is the girlfriend of the Japanese national who visits him regularly in jail and even plants a kiss on his cheek every time she visits the jail,” he said.
“So you can read from the body language that it is not an honest-to-goodness case of violence against women since they still exhibit very sweet behavior to each other,” he added.
He also warned that the agency will file complaints against the lawyers who filed the contrived cases.
“I speak from experience and from the way that things have been running in the country on these cases. There are lawyers who specialize in these cases and many of them will lose their licenses if they continue doing this.
“We will file cases even against the lawyers if they will insist on filing cases which are contrived but that is the way that it works.
Remulla also said the Japanese at the detention facility of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) had communication devices.
“We looked at video recordings of them inside the detention facilities, videotaping themselves… several telephones have been surrendered to the—the BI has confiscated several telephones,” he said.
Remulla said one of the aliens had six iPhones in his possession.
“This is a subject of investigation now within the BI because this cannot be tolerated. This reeks of corruption, and the people who are responsible for the behavior of all the people under detention will be dealt with severely once proven that they did not do their jobs,” he stressed.
Remulla said the setup enables the criminals to pursue their unlawful ways even while under detention through cellphones.
Japanese media have reported that four Japanese individuals allegedly orchestrated at least 14 robberies in several prefectures in Japan from a detention facility in the Philippines.
Reports indicated that the suspects would instruct their cohorts in Japan via an encrypted messaging app.
The crimes being investigated also included the murder of a 90-year-old woman in a Tokyo suburb on January 19. According to a Reuters report, more than 30 suspects have already been arrested in Japan.