MORE than P200,000 in cash owned by several foreign detainees at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Detention Center inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City (Metro Manila) went missing after a surprise operation by policemen in different jail facilities inside the 48-hectare camp last Monday.
Among the complainants is American detainee Conrad Pearson, who claimed to have lost an undetermined amount of cash intended for the medical needs of his son, Cunard, who is critically ill at the Tri City Medical Pasig.
“I was on the phone with an American detainee Conrad Pearson trying to arrange help for his 19-year-old son Cunard who is critical in Tri City Medical Pasig when the phone went dead. The money stolen by the PNP [Philippine National Police] from these detainees, many of whom are held on bogus charges or simple visa overstay, seems to exceed P200,000,” a highly reliable source told The Manila Times on Thursday.
The source said the police raiding team confiscated all the mobile phones, wallets and money, among other personal property of the 170 detainees in the BI jail.
BI spokesman Ma. Antonette Mangrobang said the police raid was coordinated with immigration authorities, adding that a report by National Capital Region (NCR) PNP director Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde said receipts were issued to their respective owners “and will be returned only to them on their scheduled deportation.”
On the complaints of some foreign detainees, Mangrobang said she was not aware of the grievances, adding that the BI could not act on them till a formal complaint is filed.
“I advised them to file a formal complaint addressed to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morante,” Mangroban said.
The raid on the BI jail was conducted on Monday by Regional Police Intelligence Operation Unit and Immigration operatives over reports of alleged proliferation of drugs inside the facility.
The reports said the raid resulted in the confiscation of assorted unauthorized gadgets such as cellphones, pocket wi-fi and tables.
Also recovered was an alleged white crystalline substance, which will be subject for confirmation test with the Crime Laboratory and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.