Press Release
February 23, 2011


The senate chairman on justice and human rights committee has summoned officials of three agencies involved in the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to China for full factual reports following strong protests by Taiwan that could harm economic ties and employment of more than 100,000 Filipinos there.

Sen. Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, has asked officials of the Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration and the National Bureau of Investigation to submit to his office a comprehensive report on the events and proceedings surrounding the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals on February 2.

Last December, the 14 were arrested along with 10 Chinese nationals by Philippine authorities and the Interpol for allegedly operating an international fraud syndicate that has swindled mainlanders from China of some $20 million.

"As chairman of the justice committee, I am requiring these agencies to explain why Taiwan has lividly raised those three issues surrounding the deportation snafu. I will summon them to an inquiry at the Senate if I find their explanations unsatisfactory," Escudero said.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou has strongly condemned the deportation of their nationals to China, citing what he called grave mistakes the Philippines has committed in handling the deportation issue.

First, Ma said the Philippine government violated international law and time-honored international practices when it deported the Taiwanese nationals to China instead of repatriating them to their home country.

Second, the Taiwanese legally entered the country with valid passports, contrary to the claim of concerned authorities that they were undocumented.

Third reason cited by Ma was the complete disregard of the Philippine government's own law on the writ of habeas corpus obtained by the suspects' lawyer from the Philippine Court of Appeals. Escudero said he wanted to closely look into this matter not to get involved with the decade-long rift between China and Taiwan, but to ensure the employment status and future of the Filipino workers there.

"There are more than 100,00 Filipino workers whose livelihood depends on employment in Taiwan. We must address the issue because I worry for our workers who are already there as well as the lost opportunity to our people who already incurred expenses and were expecting employment already in Taiwan," Escudero said.

Following the deportation and strong protest by Taipei, Taiwan decided to extend visa processing for Filipino workers to four months from 14 days, a move that could delay the deployment of almost 5,000 Taiwan-bound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"We leave the foreign policy within the realm of the chief executive and the executive branch, but I am hopeful that we can still exhaust all means available to repair our cultural and economic ties with Taiwan as this affect the lives of many Filipino families," Escudero said.

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