Morente orders probe on airport Immigration personnel allegedly involved in human trafficking

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DAVAO CITY (April 14) — The investigation is ongoing on the reported involvement of some Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel in cahoots with human traffickers.

Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that an impartial probe is underway for serious allegations against certain airport personnel.

In a statement, Morente said that he will be looking into reports of corruption of some of their airport men. The statement stems from information that some BI officials posted at the Port Operations Division (POD) may be involved in human trafficking.

“We will elevate this to the Department of Justice (DOJ), our mother department, for investigation,” said Morente. “We suspect that other agencies may be included in this complaint as well, as anti-trafficking efforts is a shared responsibility of all members of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking,” he added.

Morente however, states that there will be no letup in their drive against trafficking. “The BI has accomplished so much in preventing human trafficking. We have elevated our status from Tier 2 to Tier 1 in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report, and have retained that good standing for three consecutive years,” he said.

Morente also emphasized the need to have an iron hand to be able to discipline personnel more effectively. “We believe that disciplinary powers against erring personnel will enable the Bureau to take a more swift action when needed,” Morente said, “This is one of the reasons why we are requesting the urgent passage of the Bureau of Immigration bill during the next congress. Currently, our Board of Discipline may only recommend action to the DOJ. It is the DOJ who has the power to hire and fire employees. We believe that the control over administrative matters should be delegated to the BI, for us to be able to enforce immediate sanctions.” he added.

Morente has been known for his active stance against reports of corruption in the Bureau. “Our actions on previous incidents of alleged corruption show that we will not hesitate to weed out corrupt employees,” he said. “The President’s directive is clear. Corruption has no place in BI, not on my watch,” he warned.-jap

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