IMMIGRATION  STARTS  DEPORTATION  MOVES

MANILA,  October 20, 2004  (STAR) The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said yesterday it has begun the summary deportation proceedings against the five PBA players tagged as "Fil-shams".

Immigration commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. said the foreign-born players were given five days to give their side on the deportation charges with the BIís four-man board of commissioners issuing a final resolution within eight days after it has received the playersí answers.

Facing deportation charges were Rudy Hatfield of Coca-Cola, Jonathan Ordonio, Davonn Harp and Mick Pennisi of Red Bull, and Alex Crisano of Barangay Ginebra.

Also found guilty of misrepresentation was Asi Taulava of Talk n Text, but the summary proceedings against him will be held in abeyance until the injunction issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court in September last year is lifted.

All players are now considered illegal aliens.

Fernandez also said the players would now be barred from entering the Philippines once they leave after they had faked their citizenship.

Fernandez said they have also been placed on the bureauís watchlist to enable the bureau to monitor and ascertain who among them might leave or remain in the country pending their deportation proceedings.

Meanwhile, BI special prosecutor Arvin Santos, who filed the separate charge sheets against the players, said they could still appeal their case with the Office of the President.

Santos also said the players could either leave the country voluntarily or coordinate with the bureau to assist them in their departure, considering their high profile status.

Santos further said that by evading immigration requirements and rules and regulations relative to their stay in the country, the players were able to enjoy the benefits, rights, and privileges that are exclusively reserved for Philippine citizens. ó Nikko Dizon


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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