Australian man detained in the Philippines

Australian man detained in the Philippines

Australian man detained in the Philippines

Updated 1 December 2012, 19:44 AEDT

An Australian man being held in immigration detention in the Philippines has accused the Australian Government of neglecting its duty of care for citizens abroad.

Businessman Danny Jovica was arrested three weeks ago for not having a valid working visa and since then has been locked up in the Bicutan Immigration Detention Centre near Manila's main airport.

Mr Jovica told Radio Australia he was issued a "permanent quota" visa before any charges were filed.

He accused a former disgruntled business associate of bribing immigration officials to keep him locked up.

I'm not asking for a lot. All I'm asking for is for DFAT to write to the Bureau of Immigration and ask them ... why is there a need to detain me?

Detained Australian Danny Jovica

"We feel the Bureau of Immigration has made grave errors in judgement, grave abuses in authority, there's been grave lapses in due process afforded to myself," Mr Jovica said by phone from the detention centre.

He said Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had not done enough to help him.

"I'm not asking for a lot. All I'm asking for is for DFAT to write to the Bureau of Immigration and ask them - considering I've already got an order of release from the office of the president - why is there a need to detain me?" he said.

Mr Jovica's case is the latest in a series of people claiming the Australian Government does not properly look after citizens who get into trouble abroad.

"There is a bit of a sense that Australians believe that if they find themselves in difficulty that the Australian Government will provide them with a whole range of services and support which in some cases is not appropriate," said Professor Donald Rothwell, an expert in international law at the Australian National University.

We can confirm that an Australian businessman is currently detained in the Philippines under an Immigration Deportation Order.  Officials from the Australian Embassy in Manila are providing consular assistance to the man.

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs

Professor Rothwell said it was not yet clear whether consular officials were doing enough on Mr Jovica's behalf.

"His matter is being dealt with under Philippine law at the moment and that's entirely legitimate for Filipino legal purposes," he said.

"But there does become a point in some of these matters, when fundamental human rights are being infringed, that it's more than appropriate for the Australian Government to intervene."

Mr Jovica's friends have set up a website in support of his release, an approach Professor Rothwell says is becoming more common.

"Given the ability of social media now to generate these types of campaigns, it's one the Australian Government really needs to be mindful of," he said.

DFAT said it was aware of Mr Jovica's detention and was providing consular assistance.