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Tansingco clarifies BI role in intercepting Filipinos with arrest warrants

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Norman Tansingco has clarified the role of the BI in the interception of Filipinos with arrest warrants in ports of entry and exit, in reaction to a concern raised by Senator Robin Padilla in his privilege speech last September 5.

Padilla mentioned the case of Mohammad Said, a 61-year-old man who was said to have been arrested by the BI after attempting to depart for Malaysia last August 10.

Tansingco clarified that arresting Filipinos is not within the BI’s mandate. Immigration officers cannot serve warrants of arrest against Filipinos.

“It is the local law enforcement agencies—the NBI and the PNP—that are authorized to conduct arrests,” said Tansingco, as he clarified that the BI implements derogatory records as received from courts, the interpol, foreign governments and other competent authorities.

If encountered, those with criminal records are turned over to the NBI or the PNP who in turn effects the investigation and arrest.

Tansingco further clarified that Said was intercepted for being the subject of an interpol red notice issued in 2017. The said record contained Said’s full name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, and even his passport number.

“We cannot add or delete anything from these derogatory records as our role is to implement what is included by authorized agencies. The actions of the immigration officers were well within their roles, given that all the details of the derogatory record matched,” the BI chief added.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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