THE Department of Justice (DoJ) has clipped Immigration Commissioner Seigfred Mison’s authority and control over approval and issuance of visas in all immigration port of entries.
Justice Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa also ordered the inventory of all “exclusion and recall” orders issued by the Immigration bureau for 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Exclusion refers to an act wherein a foreigner is immediately ordered to be deported back to his or her country or origin upon arrival for being an undesirable alien, while recall is the lifting of the exclusion order.
The issuance of recall and exclusion orders was being used as a tool of extortion by corrupt Immigration officials and personnel.
Caguioa directives were contained in Department Order (DO) 911, 912 and 913, dated November 23.
DO 911 reinstates the authority of Associate Commissioner Gilbert Repizo as commissioner-in-charge of all ports of entry in the country.
Under the order, Repizo has the “exclusive and direct supervision and control over all personnel directly or indirectly connected with border control operations of all the ports in the country, including, among others, the regular employees, confidential agents, contractual employees and job order employees of the Intelligence Division, the Counter Intelligence Unit, the Border Management Security Unit and Travel Control Enforcement Unit.”
It also gave the associate commissioner the “exclusive authority to issue exclusion orders.”
In DO 913, the Justice chief directed Repizo to conduct an inventory of all recall and exclusion orders from 2013 to 2015 and thereafter to submit the corresponding reports with appropriate details, observations and comments on each reported incident.
DO 912 stripped Mison of being the sole authority to approve all applications for immigrant visa, non-immigrant visa conversion and issuance, amendment, extension and renewal of Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Cards.
Caguioa reverted the said power to the Board of Commissioners.
DO 912, in effect, also resulted in disbandment of the Visa and Special Permits Task Force (VSPTF), a unit created under Department of Justice Memorandum Circular 052, whose function was to process all applications for visa, among others.
“Morever, the VSPTF shall immediately cease and desist from processing any application and it shall forthwith endorse any such application to the Legal Department. All applications that have been endorsed by the VSPTF to, and are currently pending action by, the commissioner, shall be endorsed to the Board of Commissioners for the latter’s proper action,” the order said.
Caguioa’s orders were effective immediately.