DAVAO CITY – The Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Davao City ordered the release of six Chinese nationals who were arrested last week along with 72 Taiwanese for international financial fraud.
The 72 Taiwanese nationals, however, will remain under the custody of the regional office of the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The court, in a six-page order penned by RTC Branch 17 pairing Judge Emmanuel Carpio on Wednesday, said the six Chinese nationals identified as Li Ning, 20; Long Kun, 26; Li Yao Lin, 23, Zhong Xiang, 35; Huang Jun Cheng, 32, and Pan Hai Tao, 25, were released due to their non-inclusion in the deportation proceedings.
Judge Carpio also ruled the six foreigners have no pending case filed before any court in the country even as they are named respondents, along with the 72 Taiwanese nationals, in a complaint filed by the Davao City Police Office before the City Prosecutor’s Office for violation of Republic Act 8484 (Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998) in relation to Republic Act 8792 (Electronic Commerce Act).
The court, however, dismissed the petition for release filed by the 72 Taiwanese nationals due to the cancellation of their passports by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the ongoing deportation proceedings being conducted by the BI.
The 78 foreign nationals were arrested in separate raids on their hideouts on April 18 for allegedly engaging in an international financial fraud.
Carpio, in his ruling, said the court cannot act on other issues raised in the Omnibus Motion of the petitioners since a habeas corpus "pertains only to the determination of whether or not the confinement of detention of the petitioner is valid or lawful."
In a phone interview, lawyer Israelito Torreon, legal counsel for the petitioners, said there is nothing they can do with the dismissal of the petition to release the Taiwanese, saying "it was ruling of the court."
He said they have no other option left but to file a motion for reconsideration to convince the court that "the cases cited in the order do not match with the present case of the Taiwanese."
Torreon said one of the cases cited in the order can only be applied to cases of foreigners with deportation order. He reiterated that the BI has not yet issued a deportation order nor a charge sheet against his clients as there are no valid papers presented yet.
He also said there was no arrest warrant issued against his clients when they were arrested, adding that no criminal case was filed before the RTC against them.
During their counsel conference with the aliens and the other lawyers, Torreon said lawyer Lyndon Yap, one of the counsels for the foreigners, said most of the foreigners want to face the charges in Taiwan.
"If that's the case then we will fast-track the dismissal of the criminal cases filed against them," Torreon told Sun.Star Davao.
In a separate interview, Senior Superintendent Ronald dela Rosa said they welcomed the court’s decision to keep the 72 Taiwanese nationals in detention.
He said the Taiwanese will remain in their detention facility while the deportation proceedings are going on.
As to the six Chinese nationals, he said they released them Thursday.