Remulla to BI: Sue judges who ordered release of foreign Pogo workers
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has directed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to file charges against judges who ordered the release of some foreign employees of a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) firm in Las Piñas City that authorities raided in June for alleged human trafficking.
According to Remulla, four courts in the city have granted the habeas corpus petitions filed by the foreign employees, “willingly or in gross ignorance of the law.”
“If there is a foreigner who is being held for violation of immigration law, there must be a colatilla (condition) in granting their habeas corpus petitions — ’unless they’re being held for other lawful purposes,’” he told reporters.
A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial remedy that orders anyone, including a government official or agency, who has custody of a person to produce them in court and explain the legal basis for depriving them of liberty.
Remulla said the judges ignored the BI and Department of Justice’s jurisdiction regarding illegal acts committed by aliens in the country.
“So we are filing cases against these judges to find out if there is indeed gross ignorance of the law in granting the habeas corpus petitions … Courts should not step into issues where sovereignty of the country is invoked, especially an issue that is important to us at this point,” he added.
Remulla said they also intend to call the attention of the Supreme Court to the behavior not only of the judges but also of the lawyers of the foreign nationals for “making a mockery of the justice system.”
The Court of Appeals’ 10th Division earlier granted the habeas corpus petitions of Ang Chin Keong, Choo Jun Cheng, Choo Wei Jazz, and a certain Edy and ordered their release “unless there are other lawful causes warranting their continuing restraint.”
The foreign nationals, who were among the over 2,000 alleged human trafficking victims “rescued” during the June 27 raid, had claimed they were being held against their will at the Hong Tai compound in Las Piñas since the police operation.
Their petitions were apparently among some 600 that had been filed by foreigners in courts in the city, Remulla said. He added that many of these were granted and that these cases involved four judges.