Ramona’s one-way ticket to Istanbul
Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. on Saturday defended the Bureau of Immigration’s decision to allow Ramona Bautista to fly out, saying its hands were “tied.”
In a statement, David said immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport had no recourse but to let Ramona go.
“Pending the issuance of [a hold-departure order] or a watch list order, we have no authority to prevent her from leaving the country,” he said.
BI spokesperson Maria Antonette Bucasas-Mangrobang added that under the rules, a suspect in a criminal case could only be prevented from leaving the country by an HDO or his/her inclusion in the immigration watch list by order of the courts or by the Department of Justice.
Mangrobang said Ramona’s departure card “indicated she is a resident [of Istanbul].”
“The indicated purpose of travel was ‘resident,’” she said.
Mangrobang also said the immigration officer who allowed Ramona to leave had been ordered to submit a report on the details of her departure.
“The initial report was she had no return ticket as she appears to be a resident,” Mangrobang said.
“We are checking with the airlines if her flight itinerary shows that the final destination is Turkey. [From] the records of Ms. Ramona, she did travel to that destination,” Mangrobang said.
She said initial inquiries showed that Ramona had frequently traveled there.
Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III admitted that Ramona Bautista would be scot-free if she decided against returning to the Philippines.
He confirmed that the Philippines did not have an extradition treaty with Turkey.
“We could make representations but we can’t force them. We don’t have an extradition treaty with Turkey. That’s the problem,” Baraan said.
“This incident shows the importance of [HDOs] or watch list orders,” he said.
Baraan said the DOJ could not issue an HDO against Bautista because no formal charges had been filed against her for the killing of her brother, Ramgen Bautista.
“The police are still investigating this and no one asked for her to be put on the watch list,” he said.
And the long arm of the law will have to wait at least a month to catch up with Ramona.
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