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Manila to Deport at least 2 Japanese Home Invasion Suspects This Week

Remulla says authorities will go after Filipino lawyers who make money filing trumped up cases to help some Japanese home invasion suspects avoid deportation.



Home Invasion
An immigration facility near Manila, the Philippines, where Yuki Watanabe is being held. He is a suspected leader in a series of wide-area robberies across Japan. Photo taken on January 30, 2023. (© Kyodo)

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine authorities will be able to send back to Tokyo in a couple of days two of the four Japanese men suspected of remotely operating a string of home invasion and robbery cases in Japan, the justice secretary said on Tuesday, January 31.

Philippine Justice Minister Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a press briefing that one of the suspects is ready for deportation as he spoke, or at the latest on Wednesday, February 1. The other will be ready for deportation by Thursday, February 2.

Meanwhile, there are two other suspects. Both are trying to avoid deportation by hiring Filipino lawyers who filed what are believed to be trumped up cases against them in the local courts. 

Remulla said "logic and human experience" will help government prosecutors prove that the supposed cases against these suspects are nothing but part of a modus operandi. 

Home Invasion
Japanese suspect Yuki Watanabe AKA "Luffy" in Manila (© Sankei).

He cited the case of one Japanese whose Filipina girlfriend supposedly filed a case against him for beating her up. But this same girlfriend visits him in detention regularly and they kiss and are cozy with each other.

Interestingly, he said, the other Japanese suspect is facing the same case filed by a girlfriend. One could see the pattern that lawyers are following, the justice secretary said. 

Upon learning that Japanese authorities were coordinating with the Philippine government for the deportation, two of the four suspects had fresh cases filed against themselves in Mindanao, in the far south of the Philippines.

Remulla said the government has moved for the dismissal of these concocted cases. 

home invasion
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr (© Aaron Favila/Pool via REUTERS)

President Marcos State Visit to Japan Not a Deadline

The justice secretary also said, in response to a Japanese journalist's question, that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s state visit to Japan in February is not a deadline of any sort to send back the suspects to Tokyo.

"We will deport who we can deport immediately," Remulla said. 

As for the two who are facing cases in local courts, Remulla said, "My commitment to everybody is to have them deported in a few weeks." 

Some Suspects Sought by Japan Since 2019

Remulla also revealed that authorities confiscated several communication gadgets from the suspects while they were in detention here. One of them, for example, had six iPhones in his possession. 

home invasion
Philippine Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla (from his Facebook page)

Remulla told JAPAN Forward before his press briefing on Tuesday that Japanese embassy officials showed him videos that the suspects took of themselves while detained — apparently allowed by guards to have access to gadgets.

He said immigration employees will be investigated regarding this. 

Japanese authorities have been requesting the Philippines to deport the suspects since 2019, it was learned. That is before the pandemic and during the administration of then-President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Remulla, who is an appointee of President Marcos, said the request was renewed by the embassy under the new Philippine administration. 


Author: JAPAN Forward


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