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NBI tasked to probe BI fixers

Alvin Murcia



Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to widen its investigation into the activities hounding the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

This came after a Senate panel earlier said it had unearthed the activities of fixers at the BI, along with their contacts in the bureau.

The panel said it is poised to resume its inquiry about the “new flavor” of the pastillas scam that seems to have mutated.

“I have directed the NBI to expand its investigation of fixers’ activities at the BI and find out who their cohorts are among the BI personnel, so that appropriate administrative and criminal charges may be filed against them,” Guevarra said.

Meanwhile, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente fully supports the call of Senator Risa Hontiveros for an investigation on syndicates that sell fake passports and “fix” documents of illegal aliens.

In a statement issued yesterday, the BI chief pointed out that since Day 1 of the pastillas scam, he had been calling for a cleansing of the system.

“The Bureau has already implemented several measures internally, and those accused — all 86 of them — have been relieved, suspended and are now facing charges with the Department of Justice (DoJ), NBI, and the Ombudsman,” Morente said.

What used to cost illegal aliens P10,000 is now worth P550,000 per head.

“At the onset of the investigation, we sought the assistance of the NBI, through the DoJ, in expanding the probe to include private entities that act as recruiters of aliens. These agencies, as mentioned in the past Senate hearings, have counterparts in both China and the Philippines who reportedly receive bulk of the grease money given by illegal aliens,” he added.

“While we have done internal cleansing and have put to justice those who were allegedly involved, expanding the probe to catch these illegal private entities will break the chain of corruption and stop this illegal scheme,” he added.

The Senate panel disclosed the new scam involved Chinese nationals paying as much as P550,000 to enter the country without any hitches.

In a recent radio interview, Hontiveros said there seems to be loose threads that need to be looked into and tied up regarding the pastillas scam, which has also evolved and mutated.
The senator said what used to cost illegal aliens P10,000 is now worth P550,000 per head.

She added that it is not only the coronavirus disease that mutates, but even the pastillas scam, like a new candy flavor.

Hontiveros, who is chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, earlier led a Senate investigation into the so-called pastillas scam, which allowed the smooth entry of illegal aliens into the country in exchange for a P10,000 service fee.