MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) confirmed on Friday that two of the 53 accused in the P10 billion “pork barrel” scam have left the country.
BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison identified them as former Technology Resource Center (TRC) Director General Antonio Ortiz and Renato Ornopia, former utility worker of JLN Corporation, who were able to leave the country prior to the issuance of a hold departure order (HDO) by the Sandiganbayan.
However, he said they have yet to establish the exact date of departure of the two accused.
Mison also revealed that they are also looking at the names of 15 others accused.
“We cannot categorically say that they are in or out of the country,” the BI chief said.
Mison noted that they are coordinating with the Sandiganbayan and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as to the real names and birth dates of those who were implicated in the controversy.
“We formalized the letter already and we also coordinated by phone because this is a matter of national interest. We also asked the DFA regarding the names based on their passports,” he said.
“We are checking the data and the documents so that we will not make any mistake. We want to make sure that we have the real names. We all know there are many common names, the middle initial and the date of birth would really help,” he added.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima said they will coordinate with the Office of the Ombudsman for the appropriate action or motion that they may file before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the travel abroad of the two accused.
De Lima said the two accused can be extradited back to the Philippines if the foreign country where they are now has an existing extradition treaty or Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.