AS I am sure you are aware of the fact that several Russian nationals have been arrested by the Bureau of Immigration at club “Angels” located in Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga, I would like to draw your attention to the article titled “19 Russian women face deportation for ‘prostitution’” by Ms Ashley Jose published by The Sunday Times on January 21, 2018.
Let me start by pointing out that there were only 14 Russian nationals among the women apprehended by the Bureau of Immigration. The others are citizens of Ukraine.
The head of the embassy’s Consular Section went to visit the 14 Russian young women at Camp Bagong Diwa BI Detention Center to find several of them beaten and handcuffed by the officers of the Bureau of immigration during the detention and held in terrible conditions, which is outrageous by itself and doesn’t correspond to the friendly spirit of relations between our two countries. The BI officers have shown true “valor” and “heroism” while bearing down resistance of young girls and we have yet to determine why these young women have been treated like armed terrorists without any apparent reason. All their injuries have been duly documented and pictures are enclosed herewith. Diplomats from the Embassy have discussed the situation with the Bureau of Immigration and were informed that the Russian nationals in question had been detained for violating Act (PIA) of 1940 (working without permits/visas). I have also heard the official statement by the BI spokesperson Atty. Antonette Mangrobang who was also very clear about the reasons for their detention.
Therefore, I would like point out that I was most unpleasantly surprised to see your newspaper mentioning prostitution as the reason for deportation. The author actually contradicts herself saying “deportation for prostitution” in the title and then quoting Immigration Commissioner Jamie Morente who merely said that the Russian and Ukrainian nationals are facing deportation for working without visas and other immigration offenses. The only thing that the BI has successfully proven is that the young women in question have overstayed the 30 days they were allowed to spend in the Philippines in accordance with the current legislation and worked as guest relation officers at a nightclub without the necessary permits.
Prostitution is a serious accusation not to mention a lasting stain on one’s reputation. Although unlike some other media outlets The Manila Times at least made a minor effort not to make the accusations in the article look like facts in evidence, wouldn’t you agree that having been beaten and expecting deportation, these girls have been through enough? I realize that throwing the word “prostitution” into the bargain almost turns this situation into a sex scandal making your ratings go up, but this is hardly the conduct of serious newspapers like the The Manila Times. It is more typical for tabloids.
I understand that bringing the news to the public is the mission of The Sunday Times, but I am sure that you do not need me to tell you about your responsibility not just to your readers but also to the people you are reporting on. I hope you do agree that branding 14 young women prostitutes without sufficient proof is neither responsible nor decent conduct for any news outlet. Therefore, I am counting on you to publish this material and set the record straight.
Denis M. Karenin
Embassy of the Russian Federation
1245 Acacia Road, Dasmariñas Village,
Makati, 1220 Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel. 893-0190, 817-5406