By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday urged lawmakers to pass a law against the “demanda me” scheme where foreigners plot with litigants to file trumped up criminal charges against them to prevent their deportation by immigration officials to their home country.
In a statement sent to reporters, DOJ spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said the scheme, which was first revealed by Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla during the agency’s budget hearing at the Senate on Monday, is a current concern that “they have been guarding against and have been building reforms against.”
Clavano said several embassies have sought the DOJ’s help to deport fugitives back to their jurisdiction.
“However, every time they request, and after we look at our records, we see a pattern where after commitment into the custody of the Bureau of Immigration, cases are immediately filed against those who are detained at the Immigration detention center,” he said.
The cases are usually for violence against women and children or fraud (estafa), he added.
“Yet, upon strict scrutiny of the evidence on hand as well as intelligence reports, it is found that these cases are either very weak or absolutely fabricated,” he added.
Clavano said a pending case in the prosecutor’s office or in court is a ground to prevent the deportation of a foreigner.
“As such, the filing of weak or fabricated cases is their desperate attempt to stay their deportation. We respectfully seek the wisdom of the Congress and Senate to pass legislation to stop this abusive practice,” he said.
The DOJ said it is willing to provide all the necessary statistics, case studies and other relevant information for consideration of lawmakers. (PNA)