MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is expediting the deportation of a 29-year-old Australian national believed to be a leader of a group of Islamic militants calling for global jihad.
Atty. Elaine Tan, BI spokesperson, said they are now closely coordinating with their counterparts in Australia to facilitate the deportation of Robert Edward Cerantonio who was arrested by joint elements from the BI and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Cebu last Friday.
“There are many agencies involved in this case. It does not only involved the BI but also our counterparts in Australia, and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) we need to coordinate with them,” she said in an interview.
Tan added that they cannot yet say when will the foreigner be deported but assured that it would be immediate.
“It would be as soon as possible but it would not only our readiness to deport him, we will also want to make sure the readiness on the part of our counterpart,” the BI official said.
Cerantonio is now at the Immigration’s Holding facility in Bicutan, Taguig City, where he remains while waiting for his actual deportation to Australia.
Reports revealed that the foreigner used the Philippines as his safe haven, using the internet to urge people to undertake extremist activities. These acts violate anti-terrorism laws, especially of Australia and the Philippines.
Last July 4, the Australian police informed Philippine Immigration officials of the cancellation of Cerantonio’s passport by the Australian Ministry for Foreign Affairs after Australian police intelligence authorities identified him as the one sending messages to suspected terrorists calling for extremism.
Earlier, BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison said that Cerantonio will be deported to Australia when all the documents necessary for deportation are complete.
“Among the documents required for deportation is the NBI clearance to make sure that the subject has no pending case in our local courts,” he added.