Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday said two of the four Japanese nationals wanted by the law in Japan and currently under the custody of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) will be deported soon to stand trial in their own country.
Meanwhile, the Justice chief warned that no Immigration official would be spared from liability in allowing detained foreigners’ access to cellular phones.
Remulla said Japan has requested the Philippine government to send back the four individuals reportedly involved in crimes of theft, fraud and robbery in their country.
One of the four is believed to be “Luffy,” held at the BI detention facility in Bicutan, Taguig City, but still managed to orchestrate the operations of his crime ring in Japan.
“Maybe two of them will be deported ahead of the others,” Remulla said in an interview with reporters.
Remulla said one of the group has been cleared for deportation following dismissal of the pending cases against him, while another would follow suit by Friday.
The remaining two, one of which is Yuki Watanabe, alias “Luffy,” will have to stay in the BI detention center a bit longer as the Pasay City court has yet to resolve a case against him for alleged violation of Republic Act 9262 or the Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) Act.
During Thursday’s hearing, the prosecution presented evidence against Watanabe who attended the court hearing via video conferencing.
His lawyer, Eljun Rico, said they will not oppose if the prosecutors would file a motion to dismiss the case.
“If that would favor my client, why would I oppose it,” Rico told reporters after the hearing at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court.
The hearing on Watanabe’s case and the other Japanese suspect is set again on February 7 with the prosecution expected to present two witnesses.
“We will not spare anybody who was complicit in allowing fugitives from justice to have access to means of communication especially if their business is fraudulent. That is not acceptable to me or to any of us,” Remulla told reporters.
He said he was informed by the BI that numerous mobile phones were confiscated from its detention facility, including one Japanese national who was found in possession of six iPhones.
The foreigner is one of four fugitive Japanese nationals in the custody of the BI and whose deportation have been sought by the Japanese government.
The four Japanese are suspected members of a robbery ring operating in Japan led by a certain “Luffy” who is believed among those under BI detention.
“I have an idea who these people are. I will work them out after the deportation is done. I want the deportation done first before we do our own accounting within the department, but we will make people account for everything after the deportation,” Remulla said referring to BI officials involved.
According to him, the BI has started its investigation and the confiscated cellular telephones were being examined.