Transfer Of Criminals Between Philippines & UK Delayed
11 Sep 2012
Former President Arroyo witnessing the signing of the extradition treaty by Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and First Minister Lord Mandelson 3 years ago in London, this is now waiting for ratification before the Senate (PIA)
The deportation of two convicted sex offenders from the Philippines to Britain is being hampered by delays in issuing travel documents and getting police escorts from the UK arranged.
The Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) has told Balita Pinoy it is waiting for the British Foreign Office (FCO) to supply a passport and arrange for police to accompany the two felons on the flight. They were arrested in the middle of July, and since then there has been no movement.
This has emerged in the wake of the well publicized arrests of the two fugitive pedophiles two months ago in Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao..
Keefer Cooper and David Williams who both fled Britain to escape being sentenced in British courts are currently in the Bureau of Immigration prison in Bicutan, Taguig awaiting deportation to the UK.
Photo of Keefer Cooper from a screenshot of story in the British Daily Star
Keefer James Cooper, 70, was convicted in Woolwich Crown Court and sentenced to 10 years in his absence. He had been committed at a lower magistrates court and granted bail but fled to PHL.
David Alan Williams, 50, was convicted in Worcester, but left while on bail and also scampered off to live in Mindanao.
An officer at the BI's Deportation Department, Jackie Glumalib, told Balita Pinoy in an interview that the BI had the (valid) passport of Williams, but not for Cooper. She added that they had informed the British Embassy of this, and were waiting on the embassy/FCO to supply emergency travel documents. She added that the BI were waiting on arrangements being made for police escorts from the (London) Metropolitan police and West Mercia (Worcester) police in the UK to accompany the wanted men back to the UK.
Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr had already announced on the 26th July the arrests and detention of the two.
David said the Britons, who are detained at the BI jail in Bicutan, Taguig, would be deported for being undesirable aliens.
“Their continued presence in our country poses a threat to our Filipino children, anyone of whom could be the next victim,” the BI chief said.
Atty. Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, BI acting intelligence chief, added that "The Britons will be deported this week as deportation orders were already issued against them by the BI board of commissioners". This was on the 26th July; Cooper and Williams are still in Bicutan.
When contacted, both the FCO in London and the British Embassy in Manila would only say that they are providing consular assistance to the two British nationals.
A spokeswoman for Worcester police told Balita Pinoy that they are in contact with the FCO and are waiting on the FCO to move forward. She added that they had been told the return to the UK would be in 28 days.
The Metropolitan police would make no comment, instead referring us to the FCO.
This situation highlights an additional problem that bedevils getting wanted criminals between the two countries. This deportation issue should be handled fairly quickly, as both are being deported from PHL as undesirable aliens.
However, 3 years ago, an extradition treaty was signed between the UK and the Philippines, but is waiting for the Philippine Senate to ratify the treaty.
The Philippine Embassy in London told Balita Pinoy there are two issues in this matter. The first is that the ratification delay holds up getting wanted criminals/suspects moved, the second is that there is already a Memoranum Of Understanding (MOU) in respect of convicted criminals, such as Cooper and Williams. This MOU is that if discovered, they can easily be handed over to the other country as long it is proved a court convicton already exists.