MANILA, September 23, 2003 (STAR) By Jose Aravilla  - A Manila court yesterday ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) to desist from pursuing its deportation proceedings against Talk n Text player Asi Taulava, saying such move could prejudice a civil case pending before it.

Based on a five-page injunction order, Judge Romulo Lopez of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 34 told DOJ Secretary Simeon Datumanong and BI Commissioner Andrea Domingo not to "suspend and refrain from canceling the Filipino identification certificate of Taulava and from deporting him until further orders from the court."

The order was actually issued last Sept. 16 but the BI only received a copy of the order yesterday.

The BI earlier formed a panel headed by executive director Roy Almoro to look into the case of Taulava and six other "Fil-shams" found by two Senate committees to have fake documents in trying to establish their Filipino roots at the close of the Senate investigation last August.

Domingo immediately formed the panel to look into the legal implication of deporting the players since the courts have already recognized their Filipino lineage following the recommendation from the DOJ.

A separate investigation is also being conducted at the BI as to how these players’ alleged fake papers were authenticated by its personnel.

The lawyers of Taulava later filed a case against DOJ and BI with a petition to stop the two government agencies from taking further actions against him.

Taulava’s lawyers claimed that their "clients interest will be prejudiced if the DOJ immediately cancels his identification certificate while the question of his citizenship is still being heard by the court."

It was the DOJ which certified Asi’s Filipino lineage, paving the way for the granting of Philippine citizenship by the local courts. The certifications were issued during the time of former DOJ secretary Hernando Perez amid controversies that they were not Filipinos as ruled by the previous administration.

The Senate announced the verdict Thursday following the completion of a thorough probe that took nine months and sent the investigators to far-flung provinces in search of the pieces of evidence.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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