THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) is tracking down the foreign cohort of the suspected recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipina who is now
awaiting execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling.
“We are now coordinating with other government agencies and with our counterparts abroad to determine his real identity,” BI spokesman Elaine Tan told The Manila Times on Tuesday.
Tan said they need to know the full name of the foreigner, who is said to be of African descent, in order to get a clearer picture of his background and other records, including his travel history.
“We wanted to know if he has come to the Philippines, the date of his arrival and departure,” she added.
Acccording to her, every bit of information they can gather would be very important in ongoing investigation.
The foreigner was identified as the one who allegedly gave Veloso the suitcase she was made to use when she went to Indonesia from Malaysia.
Security screeners at Yogyakarta airport intercepted the suitcase after over 2 kilograms of heroin were found stiched on its lining. Veloso was immediately arrested and was charged with drug trafficking.
Tan said they would place Ike, together with Veloso’s alleged recruiters Maria Kristina Sergio, also known as Mary Christine Gulles Pasadilla, and her live-in partner Julius Lacanilao on the immigration watchlist as soon as they get orders to do so by the Department of Justice.
Veloso and Sergio live in the same neighborhood in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.
Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) earlier said Veloso’s recruiters have no authority to hire workers for deployment abroad.
But in a radio interview on Tuesday morning, Sergio insisted that she just acted as a “referral agent” for a licensed recruitment agency.
Charges of illegal recruitment, human trafficking and estafa have already been filed against Sergio and Lacanilao as well as Ike.
Sergio, together with Lacanilao, also on Tuesday went to the headquarters of the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office in Cabanatuan City and sought police protection.
She claimed they have been getting threats since Veloso’s case hogged the headlines identifying them as the ones responsible for the 30-year-old single mother’s plight.
Also on Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) summoned Sergio and Lacanilao to answer allegations that they were engaged in human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa in connection with Veloso’s case.
The DOJ is scheduled to hold preliminary investigation hearings on May 8 and 14.
The case shall be heard by Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Azarcon.
It stemmed from a criminal complaint filed against Sergio and
Lacanilao on Monday by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Human Trafficking Division, which investigated the Veloso case.
WITH JOMAR CANLAS