1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Kevin and Charlene Taylor

Discussion in 'Important Causes' started by Kuya, May 8, 2012.

  1. Markham

    Markham Guest

    It is perhaps unfortunate that Kevin Taylor is British. Were he to be Norwegian, I really rather doubt that his case would still be ongoing because the Norwegian Government does considerably more to protect and assist its nationals abroad than does Whitehall.

    It is thanks to that Government and its Hon Consul for Cebu, who's actually a Filipino, whose diplomatic intercessions, when Sven Erik Berger was in custody and accused of the abduction and murder of six year old Ellah Joy Pique, forced the Governor into having that case reviewed by the National Bureau of Investigation which eventually led to Berger being freed.

    Compare and contrast with our Embassy whose deputy chief of mission, accompanied by the British Hon Consul for Cebu, visited Governor Gwen Garcia in Cebu last November and (reportedly) promised full UK Government cooperation and assistance in bringing Ian Griffiths to Cebu for trial.

    All Extradition Treaties the UK is a party to contain certain conditions that a requesting nation must agree to and abide by when requesting the extradition of a UK national for trial abroad. These include:
    • Guarantee of a speedy and fair trial
    • The provision of competent legal representation
    • Medical needs to be provided
    • Humane treatment at all times
    • Proper food and shelter whilst in captivity

    But its clear in Kevin Taylor's case that our diplomats simply overlook these basic requirements for those already in-country.
  2. MattWilkie

    MattWilkie Member

    Hate the use of the word Honourable and isn't normally the more corruption in the place the more its used?
  3. Methersgate

    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    "Hon." = "honorary" = unpaid. You'll find honorary consuls and/or vice consuls in most large ports to deal with shipping matters etc. Usually someone whose business involves the country concerned.
  4. Methersgate

    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    quick answer:

    1. I agree with Guenther's interpretetation (post 6 above).

    2. I've worked in the training, but not the recruitment, of merchant seamen in the Philippines; it is extremely easy for training to slide over into job placement i.e. recruitment unless you are very very vigilant.

    3. Would not be surprised.

    Years ago, Marcos passed a decree law aimed at giving citizenship to those Chinese Filipinos who were technically "stateless"; the law was drafted slightly loosely and three Englishmen (I knew two of them, and worked for one of them) grabbed the opportunity to become Filipino citizens before the loophole was closed. The laws restricting many business activities to Filipinos and the Anti-Dummy Law certainly hold back economic development by discouraging foreign direct investment (compare, eg, China, or even Vietman and Cambodia) but because the Filipino business community benefits and the Left wing in Filipino politics is stuck in anti-colonial mode there is no chance of these laws being repealed.
  5. MattWilkie

    MattWilkie Member

    My reference is the fact that its assumed to be without payment but never takes into account indirect payment. Bit like a mayor controlling all the permits in a region may be seen as a "trustee" of the people but they don't seem to do so bad out of the role.
  6. MattWilkie

    MattWilkie Member

    reference employment of Filipino's I don't believe they have ever said they were involved in it. Only visa processing which I would assume is handling for "clients" and also the business being his wife's.

    Point being there isn't enough facts to make a solid judgement either way and assisting them has nothing to do with guilty or not but the fact they are stuck in limbo. They have probably served longer than the sentence would be already even if found guilty.
  7. Methersgate

    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    No disagreement about that.
  8. oss

    oss Somewhere Staff Member

    When I spoke to him Kevin freely admitted that with hindsight it was a stupid business to go into however they had the permits, they made it very clear they were not recruiting, they did everything by the book as far as they could see.

    What went wrong was one or more employees were doing under the table transactions which looked like offers of recruitment these employees then became complainants when found out and dismissed, the Taylors had tried to conduct their business as best they could but fell victim to the local way of doing things through their own nativity, the cesspit of claims and counter claims then runs similar to the Ellah Joy case, too much made up and too many people looking for a payoff.

    He knows he was dumb, but the real issue here is that the authorities have been unable to bring a successful case to against them to any kind of conclusion in three and a half years and so far the vast majority of the charges have been dismissed, however new cases and hearings keep appearing from nowhere.
  9. Methersgate

    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Yup. Bound to happen.

    Working in merchant shipping, I have to be constantly on my guard, because Pinoy culture assumes that the way to get a job is to "know someone", and I constantly besieged with requests for help. Even simple things like recommending a given company because I know they are good employers can land me in trouble. And I will state that every single Pinoy seafarer has paid someone in a manning agency (often without the knowledge of the foreigners employed there) to get a post at sea. Any employee in training is going to be contacted and asked for "help to get a job", usually with an offer of money, and some will be tempted to take the money.

    The Taylors have suffered far more than enough. A factor may be the "face" issue which can often cause a dismissed staff member to make up a cock and bull story and which will often prevent an East Asian (not limited to Pinoys by any means!) from backing down once they have made an allegation. This can be immensely frustrating, and it may be this as much as any hopes of a shakedown that is preventing the charges from being dismissed in their entirety.

    The question is - what can be done to get them out and to set them back on their feet?
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  10. oss

    oss Somewhere Staff Member

    Well I know a couple of Filipino seafarers that got there through family connections, Ana's sister in law works as a personal chef for one of the owners of Maersk, worked I should say as the old man died not that long ago, though she is still working for the family in Denmark, anyway her kids got qualified then got help from their mum's boss to get placements. But I take your point it's second nature for them to want to bribe someone.

    Regards 'face' well yep couldn't agree more, that is the single trait in Filipino culture that I most dislike the total inability to face up to things and admit error or take responsibility.

    Charlene was the one with the money according to what she was able to post elsewhere before she too got locked up, she was arrested later because she was pregnant at the time. She lost everything in setting up the business and in the initial attempts at defending themselves three years back.

    There still appears to be a lot going on behind the scenes in legal terms, it has been kept that way by those who have organised such help in order to avoid creating new 'face' issues with any members of the judiciary, right now the best hope is to let events run their course and hopefully late January will be the end of it, at that point his biggest problem is going to be trying to get him out of there, the cost of flight and basic living costs and if he does not have a 13A they will probably fine him plenty for overstaying and might even jail him again for inability to pay.

    It's a desperate situation all round :(
  11. Markham

    Markham Guest

    BoI will fine him even if he does have a 13(a) - or any other kind of visa - because he will not have made his Annual Reports. This is BoI's annual fund-raiser whereby all foreigners have to report to their offices during the months of January and February to make their Annual Report and pay around 300 Pesos for the privilege.
  12. oss

    oss Somewhere Staff Member

    It is unlikely that he has a 13A as I am not sure that they are officially married, but please do not take me as an authority on that, I really don't know.

    Fair point about the annual reporting.
  13. oss

    oss Somewhere Staff Member

    The lack of fairness and joined up thinking is another thing that really upsets me, I am a guest I understand that but I get upset nonetheless.

    If the fine is in the region of the fee then ok no major disaster, if not then it is ridiculous.
  14. Markham

    Markham Guest

    You're definitely not going to like what I have to say, I'm afraid.

    The Bureau of Immigration does not accept being held "on remand" as a valid excuse for not obtaining Extensions of Stay on time and not obeying other Immigration laws. Therefore the fine is likely to be considerable and, at a minimum will be 500 Pesos per month for the fine, a further 500 Pesos per month "reconsideration fee" plus the cost of the Extension itself - so each 59 day Extension will be between 4+ and 5+ thousand Pesos (the exact amount varies as certain months attract additional fees). Add to that the fact that he likely didn't submit a petition to extend his stay beyond 14 months (from the date of his most recent arrival) and failed to leave the country, nor obtained the Tourist I-Card or made his Annual Reports, further fees and fines are possible. And just to add insult to injury, BoI could look for other breaches of Immigration Law and seek to fine him for those too.

    A good lawyer may be able to negotiate a slight reduction with the BoI but that would very likely be conditional on Kevin Taylor agreeing to "voluntary deportation" - ie he pays for his own airfare - which would preclude him from re-entering the Philippines for a period of a year or so. If the State deports him, he will very likely be permanently black-listed following a period in the BoI detention centre at Bicutan. It would be best for Kevin if a lawyer were to reach an "acommodation" with BoI before his release from jail otherwise he would very likely be re-arrested, this time by BoI officers, and held in their detention centre.

    One hopes that Consular officers have ensured that his Passport has remained current throughout his detention otherwise BoI will treat him as an undocumented alien, impose heavy fines and/or a period of detention followed by deportation and permanent black-listing.

    Unfair? Yes, very but you should bear in mind that, same as the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Immigration is a revenue generating arm of the Government with increasing fiscal targets to meet year on year. Like all other government departments, it can mount administrative cases in which it is both prosecutor and judge.
  15. Aromulus

    Aromulus The Don Staff Member

    It seems to me that the moral of the story is don't bother moving to the Philippines at all... :erm:

    One way or the other one becomes open season for all kinds of abuse.:erm:

    Anyone can make a "reklamo" about anything against you....
  16. Markham

    Markham Guest

    True story. There's an organisation sponsored by the US Department of Defense that attends to the welfare needs of former servicemen who've retired abroad. They maintain clinics, ensure that welfare cheques are paid as well as providing a secure postal service between their centres and the mother country. Just over three years ago, there were some fairly fundamental changes made which coincided with the change of (US) Presidency and a team was dispatched from Manila to visit major cities and hold meetings to explain the changes to American veterans. One such meeting took place in an hotel in Cagayan de Oro before an audience of around 60 veterans. Due to an oversight on the part of the hotel, the meeting and talk took place in the main restaurant where, as well as veterans and their families, a number of ordinary Filipinos were also enjoying lunch.

    A former USAF major and his wife were unlucky enough to be seated next to a table occupied by a Filipino family consisting of mother, father and their rather boisterous three children. One of these children decided it would be fun to chase the other two around the dining room. As one of the children ran, shouting at the top of his voice, past the major's table, he grabbed the arm of the child and took him back to his parents' table where he asked them, very politely, if they would control their children because their running-around and noise was drowning-out the speaker. In reply, the father simply asked the major for his name.

    Two or three days later, the major was served with a criminal case of child chastisement, an offence that attracts both a heavy fine and a prison term for those convicted. In the event, the case never went to court but it did cost the major a rather sizeable amount of money as "compensation" for the "distress" he had caused.
  17. bobcouttie

    bobcouttie Member Trusted Member

    I fully support the efforts on another thread to get some Christmas cheer to the Taylors.
    Three years without trial is not unusual. The Philippine legal system grinds exceedingly slow.
    Sadly there is an argument that they did break the law.
    There is little the consulate can do in such a situation except provide a list of possible defence attorneys and put one in touch with a charity that helps Brits imprisoned overseas.
    There is a good case for setting up business in the Philippines but one has to make sure it's squeaky clean in terms of legality.
  18. Micawber

    Micawber Renowned Lifetime Member

    Swindon Advertiser - Kevin and Charlene Taylor


    Every Monday afternoon Kevin Taylor is escorted from the tiny cell he shares with 21 other prisoners in San Mateo jail and taken to a room where he is allowed a brief meeting with his wife Charlene. The couple, who had to secure a court order for the right to see each other, avoid the heart-wrenching subject of their three children before they are led back to their wings on separate floors. The privilege is one of the few mercies in a nightmare ordeal during which they have endured almost four years on remand in hellish conditions as their case grinds through the Filipino court system.

    The former business owners, accused of defrauding jobseekers with promises of employment in the UK, have hit their lowest ebb as prosecutors drag out the remaining charges against them.

    Years of living in pitiful conditions have hit Kevin the hardest, and he is afflicted with severe depression, skin disease and back problems. In a desperate four-page letter to the Adver from the jail in the province of Rizal, east of the capital Manila, he told how a campaign by his parents Gerald and Marie Taylor, from Stratton, has hit a dead end. Now the Taylors have been left to pray the outside world will end their ordeal. “I’m lonely and I miss Charlene, the kids and home terribly,” Kevin said. “If it wasn’t for Charlene and my family back home, I would probably have gone crazy a long time ago.”

    The couple’s children, Charlene Jnr, four, Charlotte, seven and eight-year-old Caitlin, are being looked after by Charlene’s family in the Philippines. The trio do not visit the jail because their parents believe it would be too traumatic. Yet even if the couple beat the remaining two out of 25 cases Kevin is faced with the prospect of returning to the UK alone.

    “We miss the kids so much as we are missing them growing up, schooling, birthdays and Christmas time,” he wrote. “We both can’t talk to each other about them because it makes us so sad and want to openly weep. “Family life for me is particularly bleak because even when we win our cases, I still lose the kids because I will probably have to leave them here and come back to the UK alone. “I have written to the Home Office about getting visas for the three girls and Charlene but they won’t budge and it seems like they have no heart."

    Crammed into a 15x9m cell with other inmates on the male wing, Kevin has been forced to take a variety of expensive medication, funded mainly by his parents, to cope with a growing list of ailments. The prisoners share a single toilet yet, despite the nauseating stench and insanitary conditions, he spends a lot of time asleep or reading in his bed. “My own health is a battle against severe depression and skin diseases,” Kevin wrote. “As the humidity in the cell is high, I suffer from boils and skin rashes, which are very painful and to keep these to minimum I have to buy sulphur soap or medicated soap which become very expensive as I have to take three showers a day due to the heat. “My depression has become more and more serious as time’s gone on (to the point of contemplating suicide). I have been given medicines, escitalopram 13mg twice a day, and levomepromazine 10mg once a day. Maybe without these I’d be long gone ages ago.”

    The 47-year-old is afforded the relative luxury of his own bed, having paid to become a ‘VIP’ prisoner, but is suffering from years of sleeping sardine-like on the floor with other inmates.

    He said: “The time spent sleeping on the floor or other hard surfaces (3 years) has taken its toll on my back and joints as now I’m in constant pain and I can’t sit in one position for too long now as it gets painful.” Kevin and his 33-year-old wife consider themselves lucky in that they are allowed to see each other on Monday afternoons, even if they have to brave taunts and threats from jealous inmates. But while they draw strength from each other, they risk becoming Britain’s forgotten prisoners as the years grind by.

    “Charlene and I pray that someone will read our story and help us and my parents, who are feeling the pinch at the moment, having exhausted all known avenues to help us out,” Kevin said.

    “I pray that our cases finish soon and I can take Charlene and the girls back to the UK, where it’s safe for all of us. “Thankyou for reading our story and I pray you can help us in some way.”

    Last night North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson’s office confirmed representations had been made on the Taylors’ behalf to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. If the couple are not freed next month the department has agreed to send a formal notice to the Filipino government, requesting the case be expedited.

    Parents tried to fight the case

    STRANDED on remand as a chronically inefficient justice system drags out their case, Kevin and Charlene Taylor have been left to pray that the outside world will end their plight. The couple’s ordeal began in May 2009 when they were arrested for defrauding job seekers with promises of employment in the UK. They have so far been unable to contest the charges because complainants have frequently failed to turn up in court.

    Kevin’s parents, Gerald and Marie Taylor, from Stratton, have already spent their life savings on legal fees, food and medicine. Yet while only two of the initial 25 cases remain, even the most straightforward steps can take months. Employment laws in the Philippines, intended to stop workers being exploited, make it illegal for agencies to take a fee to send labour abroad.

    However the couple, who ran a visa and travel consultancy in Manila, say they only provided advice and guidance and did not act as a recruitment agency. The original charge, of syndicated illegal recruitment on a large scale, is set for a hearing on March 7, when the prosecutor is due to disclose his evidence against the pair. “We feel the prosecutor is dragging his feet and using delaying tactics to prolong our agony in jail,” Kevin wrote. “Can’t see the case ending soon.” A second case relating to the alleged breaches is subject to a move by the Taylors’ lawyer to quash the evidence, with a hearing set for March 11. The Taylors’ predicament has been taken up by groups supporting British prisoners abroad and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has offered consular assistance. However they feel more could be done by Kevin’s home nation to take up their case. The pair, whose arrests were covered on Filipino television, have said on their consultancy’s website that they are victims of baseless complaints by two
    former employees who had stolen money from the company.

  19. Micawber

    Micawber Renowned Lifetime Member

    I have no idea if this latest report is accurate or not, just posted for completeness.
  20. Kuya

    Kuya The Geeky One Staff Member

    It's just going to drag on. And the sad thing will be when it is all over, Kevin won't be able to get a visa for his wife and kids to join him here :(

Share This Page