DOJ orders NBI to probe BI officials suspected of human trafficking, running escort services

Published February 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jeffrey Damicog 

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been tasked to investigate officials of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for their alleged involvement in human trafficking activities and escort services at the country’s ports of entry.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra himself gave the directive under Department Order (DO) No. 038 dated Jan. 22.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO /MANILA BULLETIN)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In his order, Guevarra directed the NBI “to conduct an investigation and case build-up on the alleged involvement of Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials and personnel in human trafficking activities and escort services, such as, but not limited to, facilitating the departure of Filipino tourists intending to work abroad, especially Kuwait; and the entry of foreign nationals to the Philippines at the Clark International Airport, Puerto Princesa International Airport, and the Kalibo International Airport…”

The secretary instructed the NBI, “If evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against these officials and personnel and other persons found responsible therefor.”

Guevarra also asked NBI Director Dante Gierran “to submit reports on the progress of the subject investigation and case build-up directly to the Office of the Secretary within thirty days.”

The DOJ chief said he issued the DO after having received reports of the alleged activities at airports.

“At that time there were reports of new OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) headed for Kuwait and other restricted places in the Middle East, but would transit first in Malaysia or Indonesia, allegedly in connivance with some unscrupulous BI personnel,” he said.

Last Jan. 10, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) imposed a ban in the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait following the death last December of OFW Jeanelyn Villavende, who was found to have been abused by her employers in Kuwait.

DOLE subsequently partially lifted the ban and allowed skilled workers, semi-skilled workers, and professionals to leave for Kuwait. Household service workers remain banned from going to Kuwait.

READ MORE: DOLE orders partial lifting of OFW deployment ban to Kuwait

 
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