DFA confirms ex-PNP chief Azurin encountered issues with Canadian immigration

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — Amid reports that retired Philippine National Police chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. was deported by Canadian authorities this month, the Department of Foreign Affairs' sponsor in the House 2024 budget deliberations shed some light on the issue on Wednesday.

House Minority Leader Rep. Marcelino Libanan asked sponsor Nueva Ecija Rep. Joseph Violago if there was any truth to reports that Azurin was intercepted by Canadian airport immigration officials.

Violago confirmed that Azurin encountered issues, but he added the Canadian government has expressed regrets on the "misunderstanding and miscommunication."

"Itong Incident na ito happened a few days ago. General Azurin voluntary went to Canada and bigla po siyang bumalik ng bansa," he said during the budget debates. "Parang nagkaroon ng misunderstanding at misinterpretation doon sa nangyari and the Canadian government expressed their regrets with the miscommunication."

[Translation: The incident happened a few days ago. General Azurin voluntary went to Canada and he suddenly returned to the country. It seemed like there was a misunderstanding and misinterpretation and the Canadian government express their regrets with the miscommunication.]

Violago also said the DFA wasn't able to offer any assistance to the retired police general since he was on a personal trip and he voluntarily returned home.

He added the Canadian government has not yet submitted the full and official report on the incident, but he vowed to disclose it to House Speaker Martin Romualdez due to confidentiality issues.

Azurin was appointed as President Bongbong Marcos' first PNP chief. He only served for nine months before he had to retire after reaching the mandatory retirement age in April this year.

Azurin pins blame on PNP exec

Azurin briefly denied the reports he was deported. His statement issued on Tuesday focused mostly on his allegations against his former colleague PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Police Lieutenant General Rodel Sermonia, whom he claimed was the source of the disinformation.

CNN Philippines is seeking comment from Sermonia.

“Sermonia had been spreading lies about my alleged 'deportation.' Maybe he knows something that everyone in our country do not know. Maybe, it was him who tipped the Canadian Immigration by concocting half truths and many lies and had been hoping that I will be deported. He had been sending messages about my deportation," Azurin said.

"Sorry hindi po ganun nangyari," the former top cop added, saying that in due time he will issue his statement and face the media to tell what happened.

He called on current PNP chief Benjamin Acorda to investigate Sermonia's alleged involvement in the smear campaign.

Sermonia denied Azurin's allegations, saying he has no reason to ruin the former top cop's name considering that they are relatives.

"There is no reason for me to do what I am being accused of," he said in a statement. "Magmistah kami, bilas ko pa siya. Ang kasiraan niya ay kasiraan ng aming pamilya"

[Translation: We graduated from the same class, and our wives are sisters. Ruining his name would also ruin our family's name]