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Feb 15, 2017

Justice Denied in Sprawling Cases of Corruption at Immigration

While the cases of Won Hong Kim and the eight visa foils are dominating recent headlines, there was no shortage of scandal at the Immigration Department that necessitated immigration officers being taken before the Public Service Commission for various offenses. At today’s hearing, Teresita Castellanos charged that the Department made recommendations for pursuing such matters as the infamous switch of Wilhelm Dyck, among others, but there was no indication of follow-up by the over-arching Ministry.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“We all knew a lot of things were happening, and I am trying to find out why were more people were not brought before the [Public Service] Commission for disciplinary action. Because you saw things; Miss Marin saw things; everybody knew about things but nothing was done.”

 

Teresita Castellanos

Teresita Castellanos, Former Administrative Officer, Immigration Department

“The Director, the Acting Director – she was working on cases from when she was the deputy Director; she was working on cases of people complaining, and those were, yes, sent to the Ministry, so I don’t know… those two big cases on the visa and the passport – Kim – I believe those were huge cases that the Ministry made sure they took on, but there were other cases – the Wilhelm Dyck case, I think that occurred in 2012; Ms Marin was in charge of doing investigation and reports. I know some information but she can tell you more on that when she comes back. But the recommendations were made to the Ministry, because when Miss Marin took over – I was not aware of many things, because I told Miss Marin before she took over that normally the F.O. is given the spares – the incoming did not come to me, so I was not aware – but when she took over, as the Finance Officer, the incoming, all the correspondences are put in a file and those were sent to me and from there I knew a lot of things. The public used to complain – “This happened at the Northern Border; this officer this, this officer that…” – and those were dealt with. The recommendations, I’m sure, were sent to the Ministry, but the big cases they took it on, but other recommendations were being sent.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“But you’re saying, basically, many other recommendations were made, and sent to the Ministry, and the Ministry did nothing; that is basically what you were saying?”

 

Teresita Castellanos

“Basically, yes.”

 

Castellanos is to return for the third time at next week’s hearing as the Committee asked for time to peruse documents she provided to them in support of her testimony.

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