Last month I wrote an article on this blog about a foreign couple who had contacted me to ask about getting a visa to live here. They told me about how they were being shaken down by an employee of the Bureau of Immigration. I really felt bad for them, because their case sounded like a classic shakedown where the person at the BOI was trying to extort money from them in exchange for what should have been a simple transaction.
Today, an article showed up in the Philippine Daily Inquirer stating that two employees of the Bureau of Immigration (also called the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation – BID) had been fired for allegedly doing exactly what I wrote about last month. It’s a real shame when something like this happens, because it will tarnish the name of the Philippines. These foreigners and the many others who have been scammed will certainly spread the word to thousands of people around the world, who will in turn tell their friends. What a shame.
Let’s see what the Inquirer said:
Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan dismissed from service two immigration employees for extorting money from foreigners.
Lawyer Samson Magoncia, senior immigration officer assigned at the Immigration field office in Davao, and Erlina Florida, administrative assistant III at the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation’s head office in Intramuros, had been previously charged with grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service, Libanan said.
Aside from being dismissed, the two Immigration workers’ benefits were forfeited and they have been banned from re-employment in the government.
Magoncia allegedly demanded P35,000 from a certain Gloria Kassbarian to expedite the processing of the temporary resident visa of her Lebanese husband.
However, instead of delivering on the promise, the visa application of the Lebanese was disapproved and Magoncia denied receiving the money.
It really upsets me to hear about this! And to think, the article even says that these two had been previously charged with grave misconduct. Why weren’t they dismissed at that time? Apparently the punishment was not strong enough to get the message to these guys that they can’t pull this stunt.
You know, as a foreign resident of the country, I am very happy to comply with the laws of the Philippines, and obey all of the regulations. But, I also know that such people are around and I have to watch out for scams that are perpetrated against foreigners in the system. I just feel that it’s a shame that such practices go on. The problem is that if you don’t go along with the scam, these people that you have to deal with at the Immigration department can make life difficult for you, even deport you. They don’t need much reason to take such action.