By Robina Asido
Hearings for cases of three suspects who are subject of a deportation request by the Japanese government are set this week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Tuesday.
In a late Tuesday ambush interview, DOJ spokesman Mico Clavano did not give details about the hearings.
He only said "one is (scheduled) on Thursday and another one is Friday" he also noted that one is in Taguig Regional Trial Court and one in Pasay Regional Trial Court."
"We're looking at hopefully by next week we can already dismiss the cases," he said.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said "we are waiting for these hearings to be terminated before we proceed with whatever action on deportation we will need."
Imamura Kiyoto's court case was dismissed last January 25 in Makati, which means be could be deported when the Department of Justice secures '' needed clearances and travel document.''
The four suspects, held at an immigration detention facility in Taguig, were reportedly involved in at least 14 robberies across some Japanese prefectures and the murder of a 90-year-old woman in a suburb in Tokyo . They have been giving instructions to their members in Japan via smartphones reportedly while in detention.
One of the suspects is reportedly the mastermind named '' Luffy''.
Clavano said the deportation of the four Japanese suspects will be done at the same time based on the request of the Japanese government.
"They reiterated the request again to make it all at once, all four at the same time. That is the request of the Japanese Embassy so maybe we will reconsider what SOJ (Secretary of Justice) said this morning where he said we would send them as soon as each case was ready. So instead now, we will wait for all of them all cases to be dismissed so we can send all of them at the same time," he said.
"No clear timeline yet (on deportation date). We'll coordinate very closely with the Japanese government on this. They want to make sure that all four are deported at the same time so even if some respondents or those who are detained are ready for deportation we want to follow the direction of the Japanese government which is to send them all at the same time," he added.
Remulla also mentioned that the DOJ has an impression that the cases filed against the Japanese suspects "were invented or are not real cases".
"There were contrived cases filed against them just to keep them in the Philippines. They just use this (violence against women and children) law because it is a very, very well debated law and a very, very popular law among activists that’s why they use the law to file against the Japanese subjects," he said.
"The Department of Justice will not tolerate behaviour like this from lawyers. We will file the disbarment of lawyers who insist on using these tactics that will delay the proceedings. I know that these have been used in the past but we will not tolerate that anymore in the years to come because it is not correct to tolerate these forms of behaviour coming from lawyers who contrive cases just to frustrate the ends of justice," he added.
Remulla said the girlfriend of one of the Japanese suspects who filed the VAWC case against him is regularly visiting the detention facility.
"We have on good word that the person who filed the case is the girlfriend of the Japanese national who visits him regularly in jail and even plants a kiss on his cheek every time she visits the jail. You can read from the body language that it is not an honest to goodness case of violence against women since they still exhibit very sweet behaviour to each other," he said.
Remulla said the Philippine authorities are also looking into possible "breach of discipline" within the Bureau of Immigration following the recovery of six iPhones from one of the Japanese suspects within their detention facility.
"The Bureau of Immigration has confiscated several telephones and one of the Japanese nationals had six iPhones in his possession. This is a subject of an investigation now within the Bureau of Immigration because these cannot be tolerated," he said.
"This reeks of corruption and the people who are responsible for the behaviour of all the people under the detention will be dealt with severely once proven that they did not do their jobs in ensuring that the use of communication tools are only tolerated or only used for lawyers and family calls," Remula explained.
"This is what we are trying to look at now, it's a very serious breach of discipline within the ranks of the Bureau of Immigration and this will be dealt with very severely," he added. DMS