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Filipina mother and 2 kids lose appeal against deportation

08 November 2019

By The SUN

The appeals court said the Philippines can protect the appellants and provide them needed services

A former Filipina domestic helper seeking asylum in Hong Kong, together with her two minor sons, have lost their appeal against a decision denying them the right to challenge Immigration’s decision to send them home to the Philippines.

In the decision handed down on Oct 30, the Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s decision denying Melody Piedad Mangoba and her two Hong Kong-born sons Kobe and Kyler Galang, the right to question their deportation.

The CA, through Justice Maria Yuen and Judges Lisa Wong ang ST Poon, ruled that Court of First Instance Judge Amanda Woodcock did not err in finding that the Torture Claims Adjudication Board and Immigration had fully considered the grounds cited by the appellants.
Mangoba, who is married with two children in the Philippines, arrived in Hong Kong in 1997 to work as a domestic helper. Shortly after, she began a relationship with JG, a fellow Filipino domestic helper. When her husband found out about this, he assaulted her. They separated in 2001.

In 2004 Mangoba’s employment contract was terminated but she did not return to the Philippines. The next year, she gave birth to Kobe from her relationship with JG. She had another son by him, Kyler, in 2012.

Mangoba had initially claimed she did not want to be sent back to the Philippines because she feared the wrath of her estranged husband, who she said used to be a member of the New People’s Army and had been violent towards her. The man had also allegedly threatened her parents.

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In addition, Mangoba said Kobe was suffering from autism and Kyler from heart problems. Both were being looked after under Hong Kong’s education and health care systems.

In 2011 she filed a torture claim for herself and Kobe which the Immigration Director rejected on Jul 14 that same year. She appealed, but it was rejected the next month.

On July 5, 2017, or five years after Kyler was born, she and her two sons filed a claim for non-refoulement, or against being sent home.
Taking note of their claim, Immigration representatives interviewed Mangoba, who was assisted by counsel. But after the interviews, the Director concluded that mother and sons failed to make out a case for non-refoulement.

In his decision issued on Aug 8, 2017, the Director found no basis for Kyler’s claim for risk of persecution or torture. Mangoba’s and Kobe’s claims were already rejected in the earlier decision by the Director issued on Aug 29, 2011.

The three then went to the Torture Claims Adjudication Board (TCAB) to appeal the Director’s decision.

But after re-assessing the claims and making its own inquiry into the availability of services in the country of origin (the Philippines) the TCAB also rejected the applications.

While the TCAB accepted that Mangoba’s husband posed a real threat to her and her sons, it found out that the Philippines does provide state protection in cases of domestic violence.

The Board also pointed out that the appellants could always relocate to other areas in the Philippines, away from the reach of Mangoba’s husband. The TCAB did not accept that the husband could use NPA resources to hunt them down.

Further, the TCAB found out that Kobe and Kyler could have the educational and medical services they needed in the Philippines.

“As a result the TCAB did not accept that there was a real risk that the 2 children would suffer serious or significant harm upon their return to the Philippines,” said the judgment.

Failing at this level, the three applied to the High Court for leave to apply for a judicial review of the TCAB’s decision.

But after careful consideration of the TCAB’s decision, Judge Woodcock refused the application.
“A reading of her (adjudicator’s) decision shows that she gave full consideration to the evidence, COI information and provided more than adequate reasons for her findings,” said Judge Woodcock.
“I found no failings on the part of the adjudicator.  I found no errors of law nor any evidence of procedural unfairness.  She did not fail to adhere to a high standard of fairness.  There is no realistic prospect of success and I refuse leave to apply for judicial review.”
Her findings were upheld by the Court of Appeal, which said that the appellants failed to point out any errors in law or any other relevant matters the judge may have failed to consider.


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