TWO Korean fugitives escaped from the tightly guarded Bureau of Immigration (BI) Detention Center located inside Camp Bagong Diwa, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police-National Capital Region (PNP-NCR) Command.
The escapees were identified as Park Wang Yeol and Jung Jaeyul, both 38 years old. The two, who were awaiting deportation, are facing murder and fraud cases, respectively.
The incident has left another black mark on the BI, which has yet to recover from the P50 million extortion scandal that led to the dismissal of former Associate Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles and acting intelligence chief Charles Calima.
Immigration sources did not discount the possibility that the two Korean paid for their freedom.
“It’s not new. Records will show that several high-profile foreign inmates paid huge amount of money in exchange for their freedom,” an immigration source told The Manila Times.
Among the high-profile inmates who escaped from the BI Detention Center were suspected terrorist Vo Van Duc, an American national of Vietnamese descent and Zang Du, a prime suspect in a kidnap-for-ransom case.
BI spokesman Antonette Mangrobang however said there is no basis to allegations that the two Koreans paid their guards.
“These are speculations and have no factual basis. The matter is now being investigated,” Mangrobang said.
She said that based on initial reports, the fugitives made their escape during the wee hours of Monday by opening the ceiling and rooftop of their detention cell and scaling the fence surrounding the detention facility.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente on Tuesday relieved from their posts nine immigration personnel, six security guards and three administrative personnel.
They were ordered to explain in 72 hours why no administrative and criminal charges should be filed against them.
A fact-finding body headed by Henry Tubban was already created to investigate the jailbreak.
“We also appeal to the public to give us any information on their whereabouts so they can be recaptured and immediately deported to Korea where they are wanted to stand trial for their crimes,” the BI chief added.
“The public may call (02) 465-2400 loc. 213, 226 and (02) 524-37-69 or text (+63) 917 573-3871, (+63) 908 894-6646 or email us at email@example.com for any information,” Morente further added.
The BI has also sought the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in hunting the fugitives.
Aside from assembling several tracker teams to hunt the duo, Morente said he also alerted immigration officers in all the international airports and seaports to apprehend the Koreans if they are spotted attempting to flee the country. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL