Pokwang wins deportation case vs. ex-partner Lee O’Brian

Pokwang has won the deportation case she filed against her ex-partner, Lee O’Brian.

In an eight-page resolution on December 12, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) ordered the deportation of Lee, whose full name is William Lee O’Brian. He is also included in the BI Blacklist upon deportation with the remarks: Deported: violation of his work visa (work in a different company), the cancellation of Lee O’Brian’s pre-arranged employment visa, and the issuance of a Warrant of Deportation against him, among others.

The resolution also stated Lee’s “active involvement in the film, television programs and theatrical industry” which violated the terms and conditions of his stay in the country. These are projects Lee has acted in from 2016 to 2023.

The resolution was signed by all three members of the Board of Commissioners, namely, Commissioner Norman Tansingco, Deputy Commissioner Joel Anthony Viado, and Deputy Commissioner Daniel Laogan.

Pokwang filed a deportation case against Lee in June. Her counsel is public interest lawyer, Atty. Rafael Vicente Calinisan from the Calinisan Domino & Beron Law Offices.

Among the actress’ complaints against Lee are financial abuse, intimidation, and abandonment of their daughter Malia.

She added that Lee kept renewing his tourist visa even while he was working as an actor.

The Petition for Deportation against O’Brian is hinged on his violation of Sec. 23 and Sec. 37 (A) (7) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940. Section 23 states that “An immigration visa or a passport visa, or a Reentry Permit, obtained by fraud or willful misrepresentation of fact shall be subject to cancellation by the issuing officer or by the Board of Commissioners.”

Section 37 mandates the arrest of aliens upon the warrant of the Commissioner of Immigration or any other officer designated by him for the purpose, and deported upon the warrant of the Commissioner of Immigration after determination by the Board of Commissioners of the existence of the ground for deportation.

One of the grounds is Section 37 (A) (7) which provides that “any alien who remains in the Philippines in violation of any limitation or condition under which he was admitted as a nonimmigrant” may be arrested and deported.

In a press statement, Pokwang said she is focused on moving forward in life with Malia following this victory.

“Nagpapasalamat ako una sa Panginoon dahil pinakinggan niya ang aking mga dasal na magkaroon ng hustisya ang nangyari sa akin at sa aking anak. Lubos din akong nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng aking mga kaibigan at taga suporta na sinamahan ako sa bahagi na ito ng buhay ko,” Pokwang said.

“Hinding-hindi ko makakalimutan ang lahat ng taong tumulong sa amin ni Malia. Ngayon, lalo kong susubukan na maging mahusay na ina at ama sa aking anak. Lalo pa akong magsisikap sa araw-araw para maitaguyod ko ang aking pamilya,” she added.

Atty. Calinisan thanked the Bureau of Immigration for “siding with the truth.”

“We have been consistent that Lee O’Brian must be made accountable, as his repeated renewal of his tourist visa constitutes fraud and willful misrepresentation of facts, while his work engagements are violations of limitations under which he was admitted as a non-immigrant,” he said.

“Sa totoo lang, ang laban na ito ay laban ng Pilipino sa isang abusadong dayuhan sa ating sariling bayan. Pinaglaban din natin dito ang kapakanan ng lahat ng kababaihang umiiyak at naghahanap ng hustisya at respeto sa kanilang sarili. Para sa inyo ito,” he added.

Pokwang and Lee split in 2021. In 2022, the comedienne defended Lee against third party rumors and that they were “okay na okay kasi maganda iyong pagtatapos.”

However, Pokwang said in an interview on “Fast Talk with Boy Abunda” last February that she had to lie to maybe save their relationship.

Early this year, the actress said she was the one who kicked Lee out of their home, adding that he has moved on to someone new.

Lee previously filed a counter affidavit against the deportation case. —JCB, GMA Integrated News

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