Ex-Budget Usec. Lao, 7 others in immigration watchlist – DOJ

Published September 14, 2021, 12:59 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra

Former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher A. Lao and seven other persons have been placed in the immigration watchlist for their alleged involvement in the reported anomalous government supply deals with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Tuesday, Sept. 14, that aside from Lao, also included in the immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) are Warren Rex H. Liong, Twinkle Dargani, Huang Tzu Yen, Krizle Grace U. Mago, Justine Garado, Linconn Ong, and Mohit Dargani.

Guevarra also assured that Michael Yang, former economic adviser of President Duterte, will also be placed in the immigration watchlist after having failed to appear Monday, Sept. 13, before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee which is conducting hearings on the government’s billions of pesos expenditures for the country’s response against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Senate committee is headed by Sen. Richard J. Gordon who has been in a verbal tussle with President Duterte in connection with the hearings.

“I received Senator Gordon’s letter today. As requested, the DOJ will issue an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) on the person of MICHAEL YANG, also known as YANG HONG MING,” Guevarra said.

Guevarra said the ILBO against Lao and the seven other persons was requested by Senate President [Vicente] Sotto III.”

“The DOJ will issue an ILBO against anyone upon receipt of a proper request from a person in interest, more so from a co-equal branch of government,” he said.

He explained that once placed in the ILBO, “the BI (Bureau of Immigration) will make the proper arrangements for monitoring the subject’s travel movements abroad.”

But Guevarra stressed: “It should be noted, however, that an ILBO is for monitoring purposes only, and it is not, in and of itself, a sufficient prohibition for a subject’s departure from the Philippines.”

Only the courts can issue a hold departure order (HDO) that prevents persons charged in court from leaving the country.

Courts can also grant the requests of government prosecutors to issue a preventive HDO (PHDO) that also prevents persons from leaving the country if they are facing preliminary investigation before the DOJ’s National Prosecution Service (NPS).