Author:International Law Group

In case of Filipino asylum-seeker threatened for exposing political corruption in his home country, Ninth Circuit concludes that whistle blowing against government officials may give rise to "well-founded fear of persecution" of political nature


Dionesio Calunsag Grava, a citizen of the Philippines, entered the U.S. illegally in 1991. When the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) began deportation proceedings against him, he petitioned for asylum. According to his testimony, Grava had been working as a policeman and customs officer. On several occasions, he exposed the official corruption and misdeeds of his supervisors. Grava claims to have suffered mistreatment as a result. For example, someone had poisoned his dog and his monkey, and he had received several threatening telephone calls. If sent back to the Philippines, Grava fears further persecution from several Philippine groups, including Marcos Loyalists, the police force and Communist insurgents.

The immigration judge denied Grava's petition for asylum. On appeal, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed, inter alia, because Grava's alleged persecution was not based on his "political" opinions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reverses. It rules that whistle blowing may constitute an expression of political opinion and may lead to a sufficiently "well-founded fear of persecution"...

To continue reading