Members of Bayan Muna hold a picket in front of Chinese consulate in Makati on Friday April 17 to protest against China's reclamation activities in Panganiban Reef, part of the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea. Recent satellite pictures showed the Chinese constructing facilities in the area. (MNS Photo)

Members of Bayan Muna hold a picket in front of Chinese consulate in Makati on Friday April 17 to protest against China’s reclamation activities in Panganiban Reef, part of the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea. Recent satellite pictures showed the Chinese constructing facilities in the area. (MNS Photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has created a five-member panel to investigate the deportation controversy surrounding Chinese gambling lord Wang Bo, who allegedly bribed Immigration officials in exchange for his freedom.

In a two-page department order, De Lima tasked the fact-finding panel to determine the possible commission of either criminal or administrative offenses by private individuals and public officials over the course of the deportation proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration against Wang Bo.

The team was given one month or 30 days from receipt of the department order to come up with a report on its findings.

Making up the panel are Atty. Peter Chan Lugay, SRA Cesar Reyes, Atty. Arnold Diaz, Atty. Catherine Camposano-Remigio, and Atty. Glenn Anthony Quimio.

The team was ordered to review and evaluate relevant documents on Wang Bo’s deportation case, as well as conduct interviews of personalities involved, including the Chinese fugitive and the Immigration officials involved in his arrest last February 10 and the May 26 issuance of a resolution taking him out of the government’s black list.

De Lima said the people behind the filing of a “dubious” criminal complaint against Wang Bo with the Manila Prosecutor’s Office should likewise be interviewed. She suspects the complaint was filed just so Wang Bo would not be sent back to China just yet.

“It has also raised questions on the attempt of Wang Bo to prevent his deportation with the filing of a simulated criminal complaint,” said De Lima, stressing the need to investigate the “suspicious circumstances”surrounding the delay of his deportation.

Wang Bo is wanted by Chinese authorities for embezzling $100 million.

De Lima said Wang Bo’s presence is “greatly desired” to facilitate any fact-finding to be conducted by the Department of Justice or any other concerned investigative agency.

“After the conclusion of the fact-finding investigation, the team shall evaluate the testimonies… and determine the possible criminal and administrative offenses committed by tang individual in said case, if any,” said De Lima.

The team also needs to file the necessary criminal complaint with the appropriate office for preliminary investigation, or endorse to proper disciplining authority the filing of administrative cases.

Upon a request from the Chinese government, the Immigration bureau had ordered Bo deported last March 5. Bo’s camp moved for reconsideration of the deportation order. He was eventually taken off the Philippine government’s blacklist.

The Chinese government then cancelled Bo’s passport and submitted additional documents to the BI to prove he is a fugitive.

Immigration chief Siegfred Mison voted in favor of the Chinese Embassy renewed request to deport the Chinese, but he was outvoted by Mangotara and Repizo, who favored granting Wang temporary liberty. De Lima, however, issued an order holding Wang’s release in abeyance. (MNS)