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PIA Press Release
2006/10/24

Former Immigration commissioner sentenced to 18 years

Quezon City (24 October) -- Former Immigration commissioner Zafiro Respicio was sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment for allowing the deportation of 11 Indian nationals facing drug-related charges 12 years ago.

In a decision penned by Associate Justice Teresita Baldoz, the Sandiganbayan's fifth division found Respicio guilty of graft and falsification of public documents.

"The anti-graft court sentenced Respicio to six to 12 years imprisonment for the graft charges and another six months to six years and one day imprisonment for the falsification charges," the Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement.

Respicio, who was Immigration commissioner under then President Fidel Ramos, was also perpetually disqualified from holding any public office, the Ombudsman said.

The case stemmed from the arrest of 11 Indian nationals in 1994 by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which raided a drug laboratory in Las Piņas on July 4, 1994.

While the Indian nationals were charged for violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, they filed individual requests for deportation with the BI.

Respicio, Subido and Roxas signed the documents allowing their deportation during Respicio's birthday party.

On the other hand, special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio said the decision "should serve as a warning to government officials against the commission of graft as the long arm of the law will eventually catch up with them even after their separation from the service." (PIA) [top]

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