The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) lauded the recent decision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), headed by Francisco T. Duque III, finding nine immigration officers guilty of Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, Dishonesty and Gross Neglect of Duty based on substantial evidence.
IACAT head and Justice OIC-Secretary Jose Vicente Salazar said the CSC decision “is a clear signal to all that we are serious in our campaign against any and all elements involved in or which help human trafficking syndicates.”
The case stemmed from an IACAT probe on alleged irregularities committed by certain personnel from the Bureau of Immigrations (BI) at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) for possible violations of Republic Act 9208 or Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 in relation to Republic Act No. 3019 or the “Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.
The said investigation was completed through the concerted efforts of the National Prosecution Service (NPS), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Bureau of Immigrations (BI).
The CSC decision said a key witness testified that she along with the respondents “offloaded passengers and thereafter allowed them to leave the country even without the required travel documents, such as exit clearances and official receipts evidencing payment of the required clearances.”
According to Salazar, the recent decision of CSC Chairperson Duque “has further enriched the jurisprudence on human trafficking cases”.
Earlier, in a decision penned by Supreme Court Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the crime of trafficking in person was said to be worse than the “crimes of seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts” and described as “horrendous and atrocious.”
In another resolution penned by Justice Antonio Carpio, the existing laws on trafficking are interpreted such that it is “not only limited to transportation of victims, but also includes the act of recruitment of victims for trafficking.”
Salazar said “the government shall continue to aggressively prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking, especially government employees who deliberately banded with trafficking syndicates and use their office to carry out these unlawful and reprehensible acts.”
“This recent CSC decision should serve as a warning that we will not tolerate the illegal conduct of government employees taking part in any manner in human trafficking operations,” Salazar added.
“We also see this decision as a victory and a further recognition of the current administration’s efforts to sustain its aggressive efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict those who exploit Filipinos seeking opportunities overseas,” Salazar said.