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Job firm link to ‘ISIS couple’ probed

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the investigation of the recruitment agency which was allegedly responsible for the entry into the country of two suspected members of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Winston Q8 Certifications Solutions, Inc., a firm based in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, will be investigated for its links with couple Husayn Al-Dhafiri and Rahaf Zina who were arrested last March 25.

Aguirre had earlier said that the couple arrived in the country last January 28 from Qatar.

He said that initial investigation showed that Al-Dhafiri, a Kuwaiti national, already arrived last year through a tourist visa before returning with Zina earlier this year after securing working visa.

“The investigation of the Bureau of Immigration together our intelligence agencies will continue to determine if there are other people involved or liable for the entry of these undesirable foreigners,” Aguirre said in an interview.
He said that Al-Dhafiri was working for Winston Q8 based on information gathered by BI probers.

“Their recruiters should be covered by the investigation,” he said.

Aguirre said the investigation will cover the possibility that there are ISIS members who are able to enter the Philippines apart from the couple.

“There is a possibility that they were able to link with local groups like the Maute or recruited members, so that is being investigated by our intelligence service,” he said.

He also said that Al-Dhafiri and Zina have been transferred from the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation to the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines last Saturday.

At the same time, Aguirre said that the Kuwaiti government has confirmed that the two are active members of the ISIS and also requested for their deportation.

He said Al-Dhafiri will be deported to Kuwait while Zina to Qatar soon after the intelligence agencies completed their probe.

Winston Q8 had earlier figured in a controversy after the Department of Health (DoH) ordered the closure of the eight health clinics it accredited to exclusively issue medical clearances to Kuwait-bound OFWs.

It was implicated in the alleged monopoly of its eight health clinics in providing medical services for all migrant workers bound for Kuwait in violation of Republic Act No. 10022 (Migrant Workers’ Act).

Winston Q8 had already been investigated by the House of Representatives last year for alleged illegal recruitment.
(REY G. PANALIGAN)

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