The Bureau of Immigration on Thursday was asked to show mercy and stop the deportation of an 84-year-old American-Australian law professor so he could seek medical help in the country.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) asked Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to recall the deportation order issued against Gill Boehringer, who had been barred entry into the country on his arrival from Sydney.
“For humanitarian considerations, we pray that Mr. Boehringer’s exclusion order be immediately recalled so he can be checked by a doctor and recuperate until he is fit to travel back home,” Edre Olalia, NUPL president, said in a two-page letter.
Immigration officials earlier ordered Boehringer’s deportation after he was refused entry on his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1 past midnight on Wednesday. He was listed in the bureau’s blacklist order.
Boehringer told the Inquirer on Thursday that he had been asked to leave at 5:30 p.m. on a China Southern Airlines flight back to Sydney, but was hopeful that Morente would allow him to stay to see a medical specialist and get hospital care.
“I can’t say I’m confident, but things are looking up,” said Boehringer, who is being held at Naia Terminal 1.
Geneve Rivera-Reyes, a physician who examined Boehringer on Wednesday, provided immigration authorities with a medical certificate stating that he was unfit to make the return trip so soon, due to cellulitis on both legs, swelling and the risk of deep vein thrombosis, or blood clotting in the veins.
Human rights advocates
“It’s very trying because not being allowed to come into the Philippines means that I can’t see my wife, and that’s a terrible injustice,” said Boehringer, whose wife Evelyn is from Mindanao. They are both longtime human rights advocates.
In a copy of the request letter obtained by the Inquirer, NUPL said Boehringer had a history of nearly fatal pulmonary embolism and had vomited twice since his arrival in Manila on Wednesday.
Lawyer Maria Sol Taule said she was confident that Boehringer would be allowed to stay in the country. “If anything happens to Boehringer on his return trip, the [bureau] will be held liable for it,” she said.
The professor was blacklisted for his participation in a rally here in November 2015. But Taule dismissed it as hearsay, saying that Boehringer was not even in the Philippines at that time.
Evelyn Boehringer arrived in Manila from Butuan City on Wednesday night after hearing of her husband’s predicament.
Seething over threat
She said on Thursday that she was seething over the threat of his deportation, but hopeful that the professor would ultimately be allowed to stay.
“It’s not wrong to be of service to others,” she said, referring to the alleged grounds for his blacklisting.
The two are involved in advocacy work relating to the plight of the “Lumad,” the indigenous peoples in Mindanao. Boehringer said the struggle of indigenous Australians were similar to that of the lumad.
In a statement, immigration spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said government intelligence sources had recommended in 2017 that the professor be barred from entering the country.
“Inclusion in the blacklist means that the subject is a threat to public order and safety, and blacklisting minimizes that risk,” Sandoval said.
She added, however, that the blacklist could be reversed if Boehringer would be able to submit “sufficient proof” to reverse the blacklist.
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