MANILA, Philippines – Another subject of a presidential dressing down is next on the chopping block.
Commissioner Ricardo David of the Bureau of Immigration will reportedly suffer soon the fate of former irrigation administrator Antonio Nangel, although the latter’s replacement was more swift compared to that of the BI chief, who was appointed in March 2012.
Palace insiders have disclosed that David – a retired Armed Forces chief of staff – had been the subject of complaints by the US embassy after he refused to release an American national whose case has been dismissed by a Makati court.
In September 2012, Aquino scolded David and his men during the agency’s 72nd anniversary for their failure to prevent the escape of two high-profile fugitives – former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron mayor Mario Reyes.
The Reyes siblings are suspects in the murder of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega in Palawan in January 2011.
In his speech, Aquino, who apparently has the habit of embarrassing his officials in public, said he could not accept that some BI officials were either caught “natutulog sa pansitan (napping in the noodle house)” or in cahoots with unscrupulous individuals.
Sources also revealed that David will be replaced by one of his associate commissioners, in particular lawyer Siegfred Mison, who has been endorsed by both David and Mison’s boss – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
BI is one of the agencies under supervision of the Department of Justice.
Both De Lima and Mison – son of former Customs commissioner Salvador Mison and nephew of former National Bureau of Investigation director Mariano Mison – are from Camarines Sur.
Mison, now in his mid-40s, was a military officer before he became a lawyer.
He graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1987.
Mison obtained his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law in 1996, and earned his Masters of Law degree from the University of Southern California in 2006.
He was appointed immigration deputy commissioner by Aquino in June 2012.
Meanwhile, the other BI associate commissioner is lawyer Abdullah Mangotara, a former Lanao del Norte congressman.
The three-man BI board is responsible for approving all visa applications of foreigners and decides on deportation cases against aliens charged with violating Philippine immigration laws.
In his speech at the BI’s 72nd anniversary last September, Aquino said he and his bosses, the Filipino people, were dismayed by the foul ups of the immigration leadership.
Aside from the case of the Reyes brothers, he cited the case of a Korean national, Kim Tae Dong, who was ordered deported by the South Korean embassy for duping people and running away with some $8 million from South Korea.
While the Reyes brothers reportedly managed to flee on March 18, 2012 even after De Lima released a lookout bulletin against them on March 13, Kim was able to flee from the hospital while BI personnel were guarding him in December 2011.