ON TARGET

Trader with suspected terrorist ties is back

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Why was Fouzi Ali Hussein Bondagjy (not Bondagji, as previously spelled in this column), suspected of having links with international terrorists by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica), allowed to reenter the country?

Bondagjy is a Saudi national who had set up businesses in the country to legitimize his stay here.

He was issued a deportation order by the Bureau of Immigration then under Commissioner Marcelino Libanan on Aug. 21, 2007, upon the recommendation of the Nica for being a national security risk.

He left before the deportation order could be personally issued to him because some of his friends in the then Arroyo administration tipped had him off about the move.

When nobody was looking recently, Bondagjy was able to get a special investor’s resident visa for $75,000 (P3.2 million) from the Board of Investments (BOI).

Apart from being a national security risk, Bondagjy is considered an undesirable alien because of an estafa case (Criminal Case No. 04-2811), illegal recruitment cases in court and a case for illegal dismissal filed in the Department of Labor.

Bondagjy was untouchable during President Gloria Arroyo’s term because he had connections with several persons in the immigration bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, and even with then Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita, according to the Nica.

Nica records show that Bondagjy’s backers were the  then Saudi Arabian and Libyan ambassadors to the Philippines, who interceded for him with the powerful people in the Arroyo administration on his criminal cases.

But these agencies and personalities dropped him like a hot potato after they were shown the Nica report.

Bondagjy was considered a security risk by the Nica because of his alleged links to al-Qaida personalities Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Jamal Khalifah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

His former wife, Sabrina Artadi, a Filipino, said that Bondagjy had dinner with Bin Laden at their unit at Twin Towers Condominium, Ayala Avenue, Makati City in 1991.

Artadi claimed that Bondagjy was a friend of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaida senior operations planner who plotted attacks on what has now become known as the 9-11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York.

When I called Immigration Commissioner Freddie Mison several days ago about Bondagjy’s return to the country, he expressed surprise.

He said his office was not informed about his return.

It seems that the BOI issues special investors’ resident visas without making a thorough background check of applicants.

***

The new chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, Chief Supt. Mar Garbo, is a disciplinarian like his predecessor and classmate at the Philippine Military Academy, Director Leonardo Espina.

Garbo is a stickler for the proper wearing of the uniform and demeanor of uniformed policemen.

He forbids a uniformed cop from smoking cigarettes, picking his nose and exhibiting other forms of objectionable behavior in public.

Garbo is  the son of a Manila policeman who retired in 1986.

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