Three Filipino women on Friday accused agents of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) of holding their foreign male partners hostage.
The women said the Immigration agents will only release their men if they pay ransom, the highest being P9 million.
The three made the allegations at the weekly forum Balitaan sa Hotel Rembrandt where Immigration chief Siegfred Mison was supposed to be the main guest.
When Mison did not show up, the three women, who had hoped to meet him, took turns exposing the plight of their partners at the hands of BID agents.
One of the women, Juvylin Lomako, said her husband, Lance, a former US Navy man, was arrested last March allegedly for overstaying.
The American has been languishing at the BID detention center in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan for almost five months now, she said.
Lomako said she learned from her lawyers that the Immigration agents who nabbed her husband were asking for half a million pesos for his release.
Lance took part in rescue operations when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991. It was at that time that he met Lomako and fell in love.
“Bakit hindi nila bigyan ng tamang panahon upang maisa-ayos ang kaniyang mga travel documents? Hindi naman tayo mga parang bata. Bakit ginigipit kaming mga kapwa nila Pilipino na may asawang foreigner?” Lomako said.
Jerlene Payot said Immigration agents sought a bigger sum for the release of her fiance Nikolaos Spanoudis, who runs a call center in the Visayas and even a charity.
Spanoudis was picked up by BID agents in October last year.
The agents first demanded P2 million for his release from the Bicutan detention center. Now they are asking for P9 million, Payot said.
“Ubos na siya, tinanggal pa sa negosyo kasi corporate business yun. Akala siguro nila talagang magbibigay ng negotiated price. Yun ngang baby niya na two-year-old (from his first wife) ‘di malaman kung pano mabubuhay,” Payot told The Manila Times.
She could not name the agents, since a lawyer she identified as Anna Lara is the one who is supposedly negotiating her fiance’s release.
Juliet Roijen, who has been married for 11 years to Eric Roijen from The Netherlands, said her husband has been detained for the last 10 months.
Roijen said they have lost their restaurant business and are about to stop sending their two children to school because Immigration agents are asking more money for the release of her husband.
The three women said they have been asking the embassies of their husbands for help, to no avail.
They claimed that they knew of similar extortion attempts by Immigration agents from other victims’ wives.
“Mr. President, mga investor din ang aming mga asawa,” Roijen said, pleading to President Benigno Aquino 3rd.