• PAO chief vows to extend help to BID detainees

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    Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta on Thursday vowed to extend legal help to 160 foreigners currently detained at the Bureau of Immigration jail facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

    “Mostly of the cases of these foreigners are overstaying, which is a very simply problem.  All they have to do is complete their documents and they could go home to their country,” Acosta told The Manila Times at the sideline of PAO medical-dental outreach program for inmates.

    Acosta brought along with her lawyers from PAO and NBI to counsel the foreigners on how to apply and process their applications for release from detention.

    The case of Amir Ramati, a Jordanian and a dentistry student at the University of the East, who was arested for overstaying, caught the attention of Acosta. She instructed her men to look into the details of the problem of Ramati.

    Japanese father and son, Mikon Yoshinorigo and Makino Eiji, who were residing in Dagupan City before their arrest, were detained also for overstaying. They have in the country for five years. Eiji is also suffering from mental illness. They are from Nagoya.

    Australian Steve Antonio is asking the BID to grant his motion for release, saying his passport was taken away by his business partners in Davao City.

    Antonio said he has been in BID jail for one year and one month. He admitted that his business partners accused him of estafa, but he had placed bail for the case. He claims to practice lympholist, a medical technique in maintaininh good health.

    Topping the BID jail are the Taiwanese with 44 detainees, four of them are female. Next are the Chinese with 35. Their cases are mostly overstaying or undocumented. There are 17 Americans. The rest are Germans, Canadians, Iranians, Koreans, Liberian and Estonian, among others.

    The PAO outreach, according to Acosta, has started in April 2007, and they visit various jails, including the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.

    Acosta’s team also visited the jail failicities of the Quezon City annex where the Ampatuan massacre suspects are detained.  They also served the facilities where the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front are detained.

    Acosta said the outreach program is aimed also in unclogging court dockets, decongesting overcrowded coreectional facilities and releasing inmates who have served the possible maximum sentence.  JAIME R. PILAPIL

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