Beijing anti-corruption campaign has extended its reach into international territories as Chinese authorities are determined to go after corrupted officials and VIP gamblers from the Mainland who have now fled to neighboring countries like the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.
According to local media, Chinese officials have been collaborating with authorities from the Philippines regarding the activities of Wang Bo, a purported gambling kingpin who allegedly embezzled $100 million and set up illegal gambling operations. Wang Bo was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on the 5th of February and blacklisted as a fugitive from China.
Wang was able to obtain a Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) work visa that had a two year validity. The visa was valid from the 4th of May 2013 to the 4th of May 2015 and allowed him to travel and move freely within the Philippines. The work visa was given to Wang Bo by a company called ELC Technology Consulting Co. Inc.
But in reality, Wang Bo was part of the blacklist of individuals who were considered to be undesirable aliens in the Philippines and Wang Bo was scheduled to be deported back to China to be prosecuted for a number of criminal charges. Authorities in the Philippines decided to proceed with his deportation based on the charges that feature under Commonwealth Act 613, Sec. 37 and Act 2711, Sec. 69.
The immigration board in the Philippines issued a summary of deportation order on the 5th of March. Commissioners Gilbert Repizo and others outvoted Commissioner Siegfried Mison stopping the deportation saying the letter from Beijing was not authenticated. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima then issued an order holding Wang’s release at bay.
Accusations have been hurled at officials from the department of immigration for accepting bribes and using their positions to grant Wang Bo special favors. On Wednesday the House of Representatives ordered the the committee on good government and public accountability to conduct a probe on the matter.
Associate commissioners Gilbert Repizo has been the main target of these allegations but Repizo categorically denied all bribery allegations and stated that he was not the sole decision maker in revoking Wang Bo’s deportation.
In a statement, Repizo said “I want to clarify that when voting on May 21, the three commissioners voted in favor of the court to declare null those complaints (against Wang) which were laid out in our resolution, for those reasons lacking the documents and authenticated documents”.
Only Commissioner Mison voted to continue deportation proceedings. On Thursday Justice Secretary Leila de Lima met with commissioners to get to the bottom of the issue. Repizo and another commissioner cited “technicalities” to justify their decision.
After the meeting the Secretary said she would decide later whether to order the Justice Department to look into the allegations of bribery, but at this time there was not enough concrete evidence to ask the commissioners to take leave.