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10 of 54 indicted believed to have left country, says BI

MANILA, Philippines–Fewer than 10 of the 54 indictees charged with plunder and graft in the Sandiganbayan and were on the Bureau of Immigration’s hold-departure order (HDO) may have left the country, Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison said on Thursday.

Mison, who met with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, told reporters that they were still verifying the indictees who may have skipped town.

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But he said so far there were fewer than 10 names that needed to be checked with the Sandiganbayan, which now has jurisdiction over the plunder and graft cases filed against them by the Ombudsman.

De Lima later said Mison would soon release the names of those indictees covered by the HDO who have left the country.

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Common names

Mison said his office was coordinating with the Sandiganbayan to get details of the indictees, such as their middle names and dates of birth “to make sure that the names we included in the HDO are the names in our travel database.”

“Because some of the names are common names so they might just have the same name while the others have no record with us. So we really have to make sure that we are referring to the right person in our HDO,” he said.

Asked whether there were any attempts among the indictees to leave the country, Mison said that so far there were none. “Our immigration officers will make sure no one in the HDO will get out,” he said.

An earlier list released by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) identified six persons under investigation at the time who had left the country, but three of them have since returned.

They were Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile; Ruby Tuason, who had testified she delivered kickbacks for Senators Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla; and Dennis Cunanan, president of the Technology Resource Center (TRC).

The three other names on the BI list, which was released to the media in September last year, were Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza; former Agusan del Sur representative  Antonio Ortiz, former TRC director general; and Nemesio Pablo Jr., president of Agriculture and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation. Pablo left in May 2010 for Singapore.

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TAGS: Bureau of Immigration, indictees, indictees who left PH, Philippines, pork barrel scam
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