BI to probe Reyes flightBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday said it was looking into reports that former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes, wanted for the murder of broadcast journalist and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega, was able to sneak out of the country using a fake passport.
“We are trying to find out if there are shortcomings on the part of the immigration officers,” said Associate Commissioner Siegfred Mison.
According to reports, Reyes was able to leave the country by using a passport under the name of Joseph Lim Pe.
Earlier, the BI confirmed that a passport under such name was indeed used last March to exit the country but said it could not yet affirm if the user was the former Palawan governor.
Mison said records showed no records of travel from the country under Reyes’ name, but there was a log showing that of Pe, which has no derogatory or criminal records with the bureau. Only those with such records are issued a hold departure order.
He said immigration officers usually rely on the name of the traveler as seen on the passport to check for hold departure orders. “So we did not take extra precautions. And maybe some of them did not have an idea of who that person really was,” said Mison.
The official added that the bureau has already asked the immigration officers on duty at the time of the departure to explain what happened.
According to reports, Reyes managed to sneak out of the country on March 18 to Vietnam via Cebu Pacific Flight 5J751.
Reyes has an arrest warrant for Ortega’s murder on Jan. 24, 2011.