Political Law

Boris Mejoff vs Director of Prisons (1949)

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G.R. No. L-2855 – 84 Phil. 218 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Declaration of Principles and State Policies – Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Municipal Law Prevails Over Treaties

Boris Mejoff was a Russian citizen who was arrested for being suspected as a Japanese spy after the Philippine liberation. It was found out that he illegally entered the Philippines in 1944. He was without inspection and admission by the immigration officials at a designated port of entry. He was then ordered to be deported to Russia on the first available transportation to said country. But Russian ships refused to take him due to their alleged lack of authority to do so. He was then transferred to the Bilibid Prison and was kept in detention as the Commissioner of Immigration believes it is of best interest to detain the unwanted alien while arrangements for his deportation are being made. Mejoff contends that he was legally brought to the Philippines by the then Japanese forces and he may not now be deported. He also contends that the statutory period to deport him has long lapsed and that we cannot detain him for an unreasonable period of time pursuant to the Universal Declaration on Human rights.

ISSUE: Whether or not Mejoff shall remain in detention?

HELD: Yes. The government has the power and the authority to eject from the Philippines any and all unwanted aliens. He entered the country illegally in 1944 and was arrested in 1948. Pursuant to Section 37 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 an unwanted alien is subject to deportation within 5 years from arrest. And he may be held for a reasonable period of time (depending on the circumstances) while arrangements are being held for his deportation. There is no allegation however as to the length of time that he has been detained. Hence, the same cannot be construed as unreasonable. Further, there is no indication that the statutory period to deport Mejoff had lapsed.

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