MANILA, Philippines—Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday said he believed that President Benigno Aquino III was one-sided in scolding the Bureau of Immigration (BI), and that Aquino should have also lauded the immigration officials as “the first line of defense of the country against terrorists and illegal aliens.”
In an interview over Radyo Inquirer, Rodriguez, who was a former immigration chief, said he believed that by and large, immigration officials did their jobs well and only some were tempted by big bucks.
“Wag namang lahatin kasi bababa ang moral (Don’t blame all, their morale might go down),” Rodriguez said.
In a speech during the bureau’s 72nd anniversary celebration, Aquino scolded its officials for various controversies they were allegedly involved with, particularly the reported escape of high-profile fugitives former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes.
Rodriguez admitted the agency needed fine tuning, and should not have allowed lower ranking immigration officials to serve as acting immigration officers.
Rodriguez noted that the officials who reportedly escorted the Reyeses were a security guard and administrative officer, and not high ranking officials from the BI.
He added that while there was a need for them to be reminded about the issues, the president should have also lauded the bureau for their achievements, which he said included increase in revenues.