BI maintains arrest of Indians in money-lending trade legal

By Ferdinand Patinio

April 9, 2024, 9:02 am

<p>BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco<em> (PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)</em></p>

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco (PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) maintained that the arrest of 16 Indian nationals in the provinces of Antique and Iloilo in February this year was legal.

In a statement Monday night, Commissioner Norman Tansingco also vowed to pursue a separate investigation on the allegations of extortion against the operatives.

“We will investigate this complaint and ensure that if found to be guilty, erring employees will face the harshest penalty of law,” he said.

Tansingco noted that the BI will not be cowered into ceasing massive arrests against illegal aliens and foreign gangs causing trouble in communities.

“We encourage local government units to continue reporting to us illegal aliens that might be involved in illicit activities in your respective areas. We have our regional intelligence units intent on locating, arresting, and deporting these illegal aliens,” he added.

Tansingco's remarks came after a group of Indian nationals on Monday filed charges of kidnapping, grave coercion, serious illegal detention and robbery by extortion against 13 BI intelligence officers before the Pasay City Prosecutor's Office.

Reports said BI officers extorted from them up to PHP20 million.

The foreigners claimed they were holding valid 9(g) working visas and had not violated the country's immigration laws.

The BI chief noted that the arrest of the foreigners stemmed from the complaints against them for reportedly engaging in illegal money-lending business or ‘5-6’.

He said they received a letter from the Antique provincial board reporting the increasing number of Indian nationals in their area involved in 5-6, as well as kidnapping and drug trafficking.

Tansingco added that they have also received reports from Iloilo against Indian nationals involved in violence, urging them to conduct operations against these foreigners.

Immigration authorities arrested 10 Indian nationals in the towns of Arevalo and Savana in Iloilo, and six others in San Jose, Antique on Feb. 22, for allegedly working in the country without permits and for being undocumented aliens.

Tanisngco said that despite holding 9(g) visas, foreigners found not to be working for the petitioning company, working for fake companies, or engaging in activities that constitute undesirability may still face deportation and blacklisting. (PNA)