New Year’s Manifesto

Manifesto Immigration Act
The heart of the 1987 Philippine Constitution is Article III, The BILL OF RIGHTS.

Section 1. says. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the law.

The Bill of Rights begins “No person” because all persons, native born or not shall be regarded equally for his or her right to life, liberty, due process, and protection of law.
The Supreme Court has time and again made it absolutely clear that the Constitution applies equally to foreigners in cases such as; People vs. Chan Fook; Commissioner Andrea D. Domingo, Bureau of Immigration vs. Herbert Markus Emil Scheer; and Lao Gi v. Court of Appeals; the only exception being the right to own property or vote in civil elections.
Our Immigration law is the 1940 Immigration Act and is the law that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) operates under to this day. The 1940 Act is archaic, 77 years old, predates the 1987 Constitution by 47 years and is constitutionally questionable.
The 1940 Act gives Immigration Carte Blanche to arrest, imprison, and deport foreigners without due process in total disregard to their human and constitutional rights or their Filipino families. Worse, the Act enables BI to operate as a powerful syndicate racketeering off foreigners by arresting and detaining them unconstitutionally unless they pay the syndicate. The syndicate has no regard for the damage they do to individuals lives or those of their families or the damage they do to tourism or inward investment to the Philippines, their only concern is their inflated bank balances and lavish lifestyle.
While technically entitled to the protection of the constitution and due process of law immigration detainees are denied access to law because either attorneys will not take on actions against BI or say they will, take the foreigners money and do nothing. Despite some being indigents and of merit the POA has not recognised BI detainees need for representation. Those that do manage to file actions against BI invariably fail because the grip of the syndicate’s powerful tentacles reach into and beyond the prosecution service and DoJ.
The CHR is totally ineffective and may as well be dissolved for all the good it does.
This is a massive scandal and enormously damaging to Philippine economy and reputation around the world, and all for the greed of a well placed few.

The yearlong campaign of bloggers like Corruption Chronicles and us, against the immigration #DraconianLaws has had limited success and BI is at last moving numbers of people out if detention who should not be there.

Fighting corruption was one of our President’s campaign promises, in his inauguration speech he said “I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in”; and his economic transition team said “We will ensure the attractiveness of the Philippines to foreign direct investment by addressing the restrictive economic provisions of the constitution,”
This year on April the 4th at the Metro Manila Crisis Monitoring & Management Centers inauguration the President said “Let’s stop this business of oppressing the people and give them the respite for the years of corruption and uncertainty.

Maawa kayo sa Pilipino.
So I’m took quite a bit of time. Ayon lang muna, I’m stressing corruption and… Hindi talaga ako pwede, ‘di talaga ako pwede sa totoo lang. Hindi ako nagpapa-corny, hindi ako nagpa — sa Bisaya nagpahilas.
But I am not just up to it and I said give the people a respite of the years of corruption, which has really pulled our country down. Kaya hindi tayo maka-angat, ganon eh.
Kasi komo ipasok, puro hingi, puro — patay. Ngayon, I am making you the ideal employer. We are the workers of government. So kami, we are just your trabahante.
You order us what you want to do through your representatives, the congressman and mayor. You elected them so give them the importance so that they can echo or re-echo what the people want.

But ako sabihin ko sa inyo iyong pera ninyo pati resources of government will be — will be used exclusively for your benefit. It does not include the pockets of the workers of government”.

In October this year The President signed Executive Order 43 (EO 43) creating the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission to “assist the President in investigating and or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and corruption against all presidential appointees.”
Recently the President attended the first ever anti-corruption summit entitled “Breaking the Chains of Corruption,” organized by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC)
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente carrying though with his promise to review all pending deportation cases and decongest the Bureau’s Warden Facility in Bicutan (Press release 29th May 2017) and 100 plus detainees have been deported or released recently.

The President’s and Commissioner’s actions will surely curtail the activities of the syndicate but like a cancer it will return with vengeance unless the archaic Immigration Act, which has always been BI’s licence to extort, is replaced with a new Act addressing the Constitutional right to life and liberty of all persons including foreigners.
Immediately after the presidents inauguration in July 2017 a new Immigration Bill was introduced by Senators Drillon and Trillanes. “The Immigration Act of 2016” addresses all of the failings of the 1940 Act and is CONSTITUTIONAL will put an end to the BI syndicate and the abuse of the rights of foreigners and their Filipino families.
Shamefully the new bill has languished at Senate Committee stage and appears to have made no progress. Important necessary and urgent bills to remedy injustices can be passed and enacted in weeks if not days when there are minds to do it so one is forced to question why the Senate drags its heels on this essential update of an unconstitutional and damaging law.
The President clearly shows his sincerity in fighting corruption but he cannot do it alone, he needs the support of our representatives in Congress and the Senate.
We ask you all for the sake of the constitutional rights of good people, Filipinos as well as foreigners to assist our President to have our fine country run as it should be without corruption and to press your representatives in Congress and the Senate and ask them why they continue to allow a greedy few to spoil our economy and wellbeing. Urge them to enact the Immigration Act of 2016 without further procrastination.

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