Consul: No hold order against seven Koreans, they have right to travel

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita March 16,2017 - 10:16 PM

THERE is no explicit hold-departure order against the seven South Korean nationals allegedly engaging in sex tourism in Cebu.

This was the clarification made by the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu following concerns raised by officials about the Korean nationals leaving Cebu and flying back to their home country.

Korean consulate letter

In a letter sent to Cebu Daily News, Consul and Police Attaché Lee Yong Sang said that there is no travel restriction issued against the seven Koreans.

“Nowhere under Philippine law does it state that an accused cannot travel abroad, unless explicitly so ordered by the court or the Bureau of Immigration (BI). In other words, a travel restriction may only be imposed by the court or the BI,” Lee said.

He pointed out that there is no hold-departure order issued by the court.

At the same time, there is also no hold-departure order or any similar order issued by the BI pursuant to immigration laws.

“In the absence of a court order or BI order, the BI-7 do not have any legal grounds to stop the seven Koreans from traveling to Korea,” he added.

Release order

Under the Order of Release signed by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 53 Presiding Judge Anna Marie Militante of Lapu-Lapu City, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) was ordered to release the seven accused Koreans from their custody.

This after they already post a bail of P120,000 each last March 7.

The same order also bore the signature of each of the accused Koreans who said that they will inform the court if they travel outside Cebu.

10 days notice

In a similarly dated Cash Bail Bond, each of the accused Koreans also said their address is care of Atty. Orwen Bonghanoy in Lilang’s guitar in Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City.

The same document states that they will give the court at least 10 days notice of any change in this address.

However, in both documents, it is not specifically stated that the accused Koreans should inform the court before their travel or their change of address.

This means, they can inform the court after their actual travel.

“(The) only words which I found (in the order) is “10 days notice of any change of stated address,” but eventually 10 days is not yet passing,” Lee said in an earlier text message to CDN.

Wordings cited

He added that these wordings from the document does not qualify as a travel restriction and that the Korean nationals could still exercise their right to travel.

Lee added that if there is any court request addressed to the seven accused Korean nationals as well as the two others who were caught but not charged, the Korean Consulate in Cebu will relay it to them.

The seven Korean nationals were charged with “Use of Trafficked Persons” under Section 11 of Republic Act 9208 as amended by Section 13 of RA 10364.

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TAGS: Consul, have, hold, koreans, Order, right, seven, Travel

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