By Jun Ramirez
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has placed on its alert list the two Chinese nationals caught operating an underground clinic for COVID-19 patients in Pampanga last week.
Bureau of Immigration (MANILA BULLETIN)
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the aliens were placed on watch list to prevent them from leaving the country and ensure their presence while they are undergoing criminal and administrative investigation for their alleged offense.
The BI chief said that, if encountered at the airport, Liu Wei and Hu Shiling would not be cleared for departure and would instead be referred to the BI intelligence and legal divisions for investigation.
Liu and Hu were arrested on May 19 when their clinic at the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Angeles City was raided by the police.
They were, however, released on the same day without any charges filed against them.
Morente further stated the BI is conducting a separate investigation into the case of Chinese nationals who were caught operating clandestine COVID-19 hospitals not only in Clark but also in Makati City, which was raided last Tuesday.
“I have instructed our intelligence people to investigate if these alleged Chinese nationals are legally staying in the country. Should we find they violated our immigration laws, they will be charged with deportation cases before our law and investigation division,” said the BI chief in a statement.
He said BI intelligence operatives were also ordered to locate the four Chinese COVID-19 patients who were undergoing treatment at the Clark clinic before it was raided.
“Even if no criminal charges were filed against them, they could be charged for immigration law violations if we could establish that they violated the conditions of their stay in the country,” Morente explained.
He stressed, however, that if criminal charges are filed against them, the BI will only deport them after their cases are resolved or they have served their sentences if convicted.
BI intelligence chief Fortunato Manahan Jr. disclosed that case buildup activities are now being undertaken to ascertain the true identities and visa status of the Chinese doctors.
"We are also are investigating if there is a connection between these two clandestine facilities and their Chinese operators," Manahan said.