Friday, July 01, 2005

Fil-Aussie woman seeks damages for deportation


An Australian woman wrongly deported to the Philippines will probably seek more than $1 million Australian (P43 million) in compensation from the government, her lawyer said. Vivian Alvarez, a Philippine-born dual citizen since 1986, was mistakenly identified as an illegal immigrant and deported in 2001 following a car accident.

She was tracked down last month in a hospice outside Manila and has since been negotiating with the government conditions for her return. Australian Broadcasting Corp. television reported late Monday it had evidence that Alvarez was suffering a partially severed spinal cord when she was deported and was apparently unable to sign her own name.

She used thumbprints to endorse identity papers, the ABC reported in its “Lateline” program. Kim Beazley, leader of the opposition Labor Party, slammed the government Tuesday for bungling the case. “When that sort of thing is found out, when this sort of gross incompetence by a government takes place, then we, the taxpayers, pay a penalty,” he said.

Her Australian lawyer Marcus Einfeld said Alvarez was keen to return to Australia where she has two sons but the government would not commit to care for her beyond six months. Einfeld, a former judge, said he had a compensation figure in mind but had not asked the government for a lump sum. “It’s a substantial sum and, yes, it certainly probably is more than a million dollars,” Einfeld told Lateline.


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