MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has released the 117 Indonesian nationals who were arrested for holding Philippine passports to the custody of the Indonesian embassy in Manila.
Atty. Antonette Mangrobang, BI Spokesperson, confirmed that the foreigners were under Indonesian Embassy supervision since Friday.
“They have been released to the Indonesian embassy by the request of the ambassador, so Commissioner Jaime Morente acted on the request at the same time our Secretary of Justice posed no objection to the request of the representative. Of course, subject to certain conditions,” she explained.
The BI official said the condition was to present the bureau with the identities of all the 177 foreigners.
“What we have is the Filipino name so the embassy provided us with the photocopies of their passport to ascertain their identities,” she said.
Mangrobang added, “We also requested that any given time we needed them, they would be represented by the embassy.”
Asked on what aspect the BI will need the foreigners, she said, “Cases were filed against the supposed Filipino escort, and they would stand as a witness in syndicated estate. So their testimonies need whenever… That is part of the condition that they should be available.”
Mangrobang noted that they could not yet determine how long they will need the 177 Indonesians.
“As of now we could not ascertain the length of time they will stay, but the intention is to send them immediately back home kasi nga although they are custody of embassy. We would want to send them back home,” she added.
The BI official said that the foreigners were already on their watch list and that they would be informed about their attempt to leave the country.
“They are already on the watch list upon the filing of charges, so we have their names in the database,” she added.
On Aug. 19, the BI barred the Indonesians from leaving the country for Saudi Arabia for illegal possession of Philippine passports.