Suspected Indonesian suicide bomber nabbed in PHL to face deportation – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   October 12, 2020   •   277

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is filing a deportation case against suspected suicide bomber Resky Fantasya Rullie who was apprehended by authorities on Saturday.

The BI, however, said Rullie will have to face the criminal charges lodged against her before being deported.

Rullie alias Cici, an Indonesian national, was arrested in a joint operation launched by the Philippine Army’s 11th Infantry Division, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 9, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency 9 and the immigration bureau.

Also apprehended were Inda Nhur and Fatima Sandra Jimlani Jama, both wives of ranking Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members.

Rullie is reportedly the wife of ASG sub-leader Andi Basco, who was killed in a clash with government troops in Sulu.

Her parents were said to be responsible for the January 2019 twin bombings at the Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu.

According to BI Intelligence Mindanao Task Group (MITG) head Melody Gonzales, Rullie was the subject of months of surveillance and was found to have allegedly been planning to conduct a suicide bombing attempt in Sulu before the arrest.

Gonzales said the trio were found in possession of a suicide vest, bombs, and other components used in making an improvised explosive device.

“They have been brought to the police station for documentation and filing of charges. A deportation case has been recommended to be filed against Rullie for terrorism, being an illegal entrant, and for undesirability, apart from the criminal charges that she face,” she said.

Gonzales said Rullie is considered a high value target in their drive against foreigners engaged in terroristic activities in the South.

Meanwhile, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente lauded his personnel and other law enforcers for the successful operation against a foreign terrorist.

“We will not stop until we have rid our country of these demons who abuse our hospitality and hurt our people,” he said.

2 suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in Sulu clash – AFP

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A suspected sub-leader and a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in separate encounters with government troops in Sulu early Friday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. identified the slain individuals as alleged ASG sub-leader Hatib Munap Binda and a certain Bensio Barahama.

Vinluan said Binda was killed in the first encounter that occurred in Panamao town of Sulu province.

Based on the report submitted by 4th Marine Brigade Commander Col. Ruben Candelario, troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 (MBLT) was conducting combat operation st Bud Bawis Complex, Barangay Kawasan when they encountered the group of Binda around 5:45 a.m.

Vinluan said a fierce firefight ensued which lasted for about 30 minutes after which the enemy withdrew.

“While scouring the encounter site, marine troops recovered the dead body of ASG sub-leader Binda, one M16 rifle, and one M14 rifle,” he added.

Vinluan said that based on their records, Binda is the senior leader of the ASG operating in the municipalities of Kalingalan Caluang and Panamao, Sulu.

He was a member of the organization since 2002 and was an associate of the late ASG sub-leader Alhabsi Misaya during the conduct of series of kidnappings in the tri-boundaries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines.

In a separate operation, another team of the MBLT-1 encountered the ASG group under Sansibar Bensio a few meters away from the previous encounter site at 6:45 a.m. of the same day.

The encounter lasted for about 20 minutes which resulted in the death of a certain Bensio Barahama and the recovery of one M14 rifle, according to the report of MBLT-1 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Marvin Salvan.

“Our good intelligence operations yielded to these positive results and we are grateful that no one from our side was injured during the operations,” Salvan said.

Vinluan said Barahama is the father of Abu Sayyaf Group sub-leader Sansibar Bensio and was operating in the areas of Panamao, Omar, and Luuk.

The AFP said operating troops are still in hot pursuit of the fleeing enemies.

“All the military units here in Sulu remain vigilant and resilient in eliminating the remaining terrorists who refuse to cooperate with us and continue to inflict terroristic activities in the peaceful communities,’’ said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.

“Rest assured that we will continue to work hard to end terrorism here in the beautiful island province of Sulu,” he added.

Duterte summons BI personnel allegedly involved in pastillas controversy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 10, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (November 10) summoned to Malacañang the forty-four Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel allegedly involved in the ‘pastillas’ controversy.

According to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Duterte handed each of the BI personnel peso bills that were wrapped to look like pastillas. The said personnel were suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) due to their alleged involvement in the ‘pastillas scheme’.

“He wanted them to eat the pastillas, but did not insist ‘out of deference to the secretary of justice who was also present’. He said, either you eat it or give it to the first beggar you see,” Guevarra said in a statement.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the stunt was to reiterate the President does not tolerate corruption.

Nagsabi rin po ang president na dapat matigil na ang korupsyon, at nagsabi rin ang president na kayo’y nakasuhan na, depensahan ninyo ang sarili ninyo (The President also said that corruption should be curbed and he also said you will face charges. Defend yourself),” he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said the passage of the Immigration Act will help curb corruption in the agency. The act aims to respond to the concerns of Immigration personnel with regard to salary.

“The new law, which is already in Congress, will answer salary woes, remove systemic issues, plug loopholes in policies, update fines and penalties, ensure division of power, and confer to the Commissioner the proper disciplinary powers,” the statement reads. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

PH Immigration to impose one-strike policy vs corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said it will implement a one-strike policy against its erring personnel as part of its efforts to fight corruption.

Under the one-strike policy, erring personnel who are the subject of complaints and investigations will be relieved from their posts immediately, the BI said.

The measure comes after several Immigration officials were subjected to investigation over their alleged involvement in the “pastillas” bribery scheme which allegedly takes advantage of Chinese nationals who wish to be escorted to dodge the immigration screening process for a fee.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he has ordered the BI’s newly-reconstituted Board of Discipline (BOD) to “carefully assess complaints and reports against erring personnel” and to “immediately recommend to the Department of Justice (DOJ) the filing of administrative case” if they find merit.

The BI said that since 2016, one hundred thirty-one (131) personnel have been suspended, dismissed, and dropped from the rolls for various offenses.

“We do not tolerate corruption amongst our ranks,” Morente said.

“In support of the President’s intensified drive against corruption, we have beefed up our Board of Discipline (BOD) to focus on cleaning up the Bureau,” he added.

The BOD is currently headed by lawyer Ronaldo Ledesma, who previously served as the Bureau’s OIC Commissioner and OIC Deputy Commissioner. Five additional lawyers have also been assigned by the DOJ to the BOD.

The BI chief earlier lamented the bureau’s lack of disciplinary powers over its own employees, noting that its set up under the current immigration law is merely recommendatory to the DOJ.

“If administrative control was to be given to the BI, if we find someone involved in improper activities in the morning, we can immediately implement a suspension in the afternoon,” he said.

Morente also urged the public to report any illegal activities to the BI’s hotline +632 86452400 or via its Facebook page.

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