Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Response of BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison on allegations of corrupt "Gang of Four" at BI



To His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III

To my fellow Public Servants at the Bureau of Immigration and to My fellow Filipinos,

In a full-page advertisement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer entitled “An Open Letter to the President,” Atty. Faisal Hussin, signing in his capacity as President of the Buklod ng Kawani ng CID (BUKLOD-CID) and "supposedly" on behalf of its members, came up with contrived allegations in an attempt to malign my reputation.

At the outset, let it be clear that BUKLOD-CID, the recognized labor association of BI, has disowned Hussin’s statement and clarified that the executive board of the BUKLOD-CID did not authorize Hussin to write the said letter. Atty. Gregorio Sadiasa, current president of BUKLOD-CID, said that “any statement made therein is his personal opinion and is not the official statement of the BUKLOD-CID.”

As what is expected of Atty. Hussin, this open letter is another case of misrepresentation, the very same offense he committed last 2009 when he falsified his birthdate in his Personal Data Sheet (PDS) to justify his prolonged stay at the bureau. The letter of Hussin (not of BUKLOD) is yet another malicious and desperate move from a man who stands as an accused in an extortion case which happened two years ago in Cebu, which case is subject of an Ombudsman complaint filed by the foreigner-victim himself.

The allegations in the letter are not new, in fact, they have been fully addressed in the past and have been published in a few tabloids. What is the motivation of Hussin and his cohorts? These so-called “old timers”, disgruntled employees, or BAD GUYS from within want nothing more than to destroy the reforms being institutionalized at the Bureau of Immigration. They are after me because I am the one leading the charge for genuine change to happen in the bureau. They are after me since they have lost and continue to lose "illegal revenue" from their corrupt practices. The letter recirculated cases already resolved while twisting certain facts of actual incidents to substantiate frivolous complaints.

Allow me to address the issues one by one.

1.      Reimbursement of gasoline and toll expenses: This issue has been resolved a long time ago of which I was reprimanded. The claims for reimbursement were prepared by my subordinate (who I immediately terminated due to this specific misconduct), as it was physically impossible for me to look into each and every reimbursement’s accuracy, propriety, and sufficiency. My accuser in this case, Atty. Felino Quirante, Jr., is a respondent himself in an Ombudsman case for illegally receiving funds, which case was however dismissed due to his untimely demise late last year. Atty. Quirante has openly held grudges against me as he had accused me of being responsible for his removal as chief of the BI’s administrative division last 2011. In deference to the late Atty. Quirante and as a matter of respect to his family, I deemed it wise not to elaborate further.

2.    Fu Gaofeng: In this deportation case, in my capacity as Commissioner, I issued a warrant of deportation under the erroneous belief that the deportation order has reached its finality. I rectified the error of recalling the defective warrant after finding out that respondent’s counsel did not receive a copy of the deportation order. Thus, there was no illegal release since the supposed arrest was defective in the first place. My decision to recall the warrant was even bolstered by the fact that the Secretary of Justice recently issued a resolution ordering the release of Fu, which shows that the deportation order was not final and therefore cannot support or justify a warrant. My accuser in this case, Ricardo Cabochan is a known ally of Hussin. He used to head the BI Baguio office until his relief due to embezzlement of funds under his watch. He was also suspended for three months due to his negligence in the visa processing of a foreign national. He had served his suspension but not without filing at least 3 complaints against me. Cabochan was also implicated in an NBI investigation where Koreans based in Baguio complained of extortion. Incidentally, Cabochan is the brother of a former Associate Commissioner in BI, who is confirmed by reliable sources to be eyeing the position of commissioner of BI.

3.    Wilson Ong Cheng: Official documents revealed that Wilson Ong Cheng’s name was LAWFULLY lifted from the blacklist and the appropriate fees were paid as early as November 4, 2014 but such lifting was apparently not reflected in the airport’s database when Cheng entered on March 11. Thus, his request to recall the exclusion order against him was immediately allowed after verifying official documents and the system. There is no irregularity in this process. The author of the Open Letter, Atty. Faisal Hussin is now an accused for extortion in a case filed by Wilson Ong Cheng himself - the subject of the recall order. In an operation in Cebu sometime in November 2013, Hussin and his team allegedly extorted money from several individuals and schools in consideration for their release from BI custody. The investigation report re this extortion incident is currently with the Department of Justice.

More importantly, Hussin should have retired from the service in 2013, upon reaching 65 years of age, but he falsified his birth documents to prolong his stay in the bureau and continue his nefarious practice of extortion and harassment of foreign nationals. Based on OFFICIAL records, Hussin has been the subject of not less than 10 administrative cases throughout his "extended" stay in the Bureau, most of which involved extortion and harassment of foreign nationals. The majority of these cases however have either been dismissed due to technicalities or lack of interest on the part of complainants, while others have resulted to a reprimand. Acting on a tip received last month, I filed a criminal case before the Ombudsman against Hussin for misrepresentation and falsification of documents since he supposedly reached the mandatory age of retirement on January 30, 2013, based on the records from the Office of the Bar Confidant, among others, which states that his date of birth is January 30, 1948. However, Hussin managed to "extend his stay" in BI because he belatedly submitted to the BI, a birth certificate from the National Statistics Office which states that he was born on June 30, 1950 issued by virtue of a delayed registration of birth.

4. Overtime Pay: Since the institutionalization of express lane fees sometime in 1989, all previous commissioners as well as all employees of the Bureau have been receiving a corresponding share in the said trust fund pursuant to Section 7-A of the C.A. 613 and pertinent DOJ regulations. A May 2014 memorandum from the Commission on Audit has unequivocally stated that: “[c]onsidering the practice for BI Commissioners to receive overtime pay and that there is no provision of law exempting the incumbent BI Commissioner from the receipt thereof, there exists no reason why Commissioner Mison cannot be allowed to receive the same overtime pay because he is also an employee of the Bureau of Immigration.”

The Bureau has gone through great lengths to implement the President’s ‘Tuwid Na Daan’ policy but these people (Hussin, Cabochan, et al) do not want to change their old and corrupt ways. Their willingness to shell out more than Php 300,000.00 to publish a letter supposedly sanctioned by the recognized labor association of the Bureau, reflects that their efforts are well-funded and organized. It cannot be denied that Atty. Hussin and Associate Commissioner Gilberto Repizo (who is involved in the Wang Bo deportation controversy) worked closely together as technical assistants of then Associate Commissioner Lopez during the latter’s tenure from 1996 to 1998. Sources say that Hussin and Cabochan are in fact seen very often inside the office of AC Repizo since the latter assumed office last December 2013.

This latest attack on my integrity is a manifestation that my campaign against the BAD GUYS from within is working. This latest attack is an indication that these BAD GUYS will resort to all kinds of machinations to perpetuate or put themselves to positions of power and influence to propagate their corrupt practices. This latest attack is a sign for more vicious and more malicious publications to come unless these BAD GUYS are removed from the Bureau.

Let me warn this “Gang of Four” that as much as they will not stop attacking my character as their way of opposing reforms, I shall not stop introducing and institutionalizing reforms needed in the Bureau of Immigration, without fear or favor, to provide the most efficient, innovative, and effective immigration service.

With my utmost respect to all well-meaning Filipinos,

Siegfred B Mison
Public Servant
Bureau of Immigration