MANY of the 160 foreign nationals detained at the Bureau of Immigration’s facility in Camp Bagong Diwa came into the country either as tourists or students.
Still, they have been detained because they failed to renew their visas or overstayed because of illnesses that prevented them from leaving.
These were the realities culled by Public Attorney’s Office Chief Persida Acosta on Thursday, as her office and the National Bureau of Investigation conducted outreach medical and dental missions and provide as well legal counsel to inmates in the jails in Metro Manila.
“Most of the cases of these foreigners are simple overstaying, which merely entailed completing their documents and allowing them to return to their countries,” Acosta told the team from the Manila Times (where she also has a regular column).
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.
Amir Ramati, a Jordanian who was taking dentistry at the University of the East, was arrested for overstaying, who 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, residing in Dagupan City before their arrest, were detained also for overstaying. They have been in the country for five years. Eiji is also suffering from mental illness. They are from Nagoya.
Australian Steve Antonio is asking the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation to grant his motion for release, saying his passport was taken away by his business partners in Davao City.
Antonio, jailed for a 1.1 years at the BID jail, admitted that his business partners accused him of estafa but that he had placed bail for the case. He claims to practice lympholist, a medical technique in maintaining good health.
Topping the BID jail list are the Taiwanese with 44 detainees four of them female; the Chinese with 35( either undocumented or overstaying); 17 Americans and the rest are Germans, Canadians, Iranians, Koreans, Liberian and Estonian, among others.
The PAO outreach, Acosta said began in April 2007 where they visit various jails, including the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.
Acosta’s team also visited the jail facilities of Quezon City annex where the Ampatuan massacre suspects are detained, along with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.
Acosta said the outreach program aims to declog court dockets, decongesting of overcrowded correctional facilities and releasing inmates who have served the possible maximum sentence.