2 National Museum officials arrested for extortion

Maris Federez   •   August 20, 2019   •   1944

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) have arrested two high-ranking officials of the National Museum.

The two were involved in extortion in exchange of permits issued by the agency, particularly on treasure hunting.

According to the PACC, the two officials had been extorting money from the complainant who has a pending application for treasure hunting permit at the agency.

The two were asking for P120,000 from the applicant for a permit that only costs P3,000.

“So pumunta sa amin iyong complainant then we set up this entrapment operations with the NBI.  Malaki hong halaga iyan for these permits dahil legal fees hindi naman aabot yan ng ganoon kalaki,” said PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica.

The two were identified as Ernesto Toribio Jr, chief of the National Museum Treasure Hunting Section, and Angel Toribio, acting Director and Curator II of the museum’s Cultural Properties Division.

The PACC believes that there is a possibility that extortion has already become rampant at the National Museum as there are no clear guidelines on the process of application permits such as in treasure hunting.

With this, the PACC is urging the National Museum administration to streamline its requirements for permit applications.

PACC will file bribery, extortion, and conspiracy against the two officials. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

NBI exec, brother face raps over alleged pastillas scam

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed graft and extortion complaints against its official and his brother from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) over the alleged ‘pastillas scheme.’

Atty. Joshua Paul Capiral, NBI’s legal assistance chief, and his brother, Christopher John, an officer at the BI’s medical section, underwent inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice on Wednesday morning.

The brothers are facing extortion complaints under the Revised Penal Code, and violation of the Anti-Graft Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Executive Order No. 608 which established the national security clearance system for government personnel with access to classified matters.

The two were arrested in an entrapment operation on Monday night for allegedly receiving bribes from individuals implicated in the pastillas scheme in exchange for exclusion from the charges.

Nineteen Immigration officers allegedly linked to the pastillas scheme are currently facing charges filed by the NBI at the Office of the Ombudsman last month.

The modus was called pastillas, derived from a Filipino sweet and sticky dessert, because the bribe money that some personnel receive were wrapped in paper.

The scheme allegedly takes advantage of Chinese casino high-rollers and offshore gaming workers who wish to be escorted to dodge the immigration screening process for a fee.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he has ordered a reinvestigation into the pastillas scheme.

“Considering that the NBI investigation appeared to have been tainted, I will order a reinvestigation of the so-called ‘pastillas’ racket involving some unscrupulous BI employees,” he said in message to reporters.

Meanwhile, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente welcomed the development and assured support for the drive to cleanse the agency of corruption.

Morente also vowed to continue its campaign against corruption activities within the agency.

“We will continue to pursue our campaign against BI personnel engaged in corrupt activities in coordination with NBI and other law enforcement agencies in support of President Duterte’s desire to cleanse the agency,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Drilon wants NBI legal exec tagged in ‘pastillas scheme’ disbarred

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Frankiln Drilon on Wednesday urged the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to file a disbarment case against its official who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the ‘pastillas scheme’ in the Bureau of Immigration.

Drilon made the call following the arrest of Atty. Joshua Capiral, NBI’s head of legal assistance division, for allegedly accepting bribes from persons involved in the modus in exchange for exclusion from charges.

“Bantay salakay ang tawag dito. Yung inatasan na mag-imbestiga sa katiwalian sila yung gumagawa ng katiwalian,” he said in an interview over Teleradyo.

“He is a disgrace to the legal profession. We lawyers took an oath to tell nothing but the truth. Capiral violated that sacred oath of lawyers. All he did in the NBI is to enrich himself through corruption,” he added.

When asked whether the case of Capiral warrants a Senate investigation, Drilon said he will support an investigation if there is evidence of massive corruption in NBI – like in the case of PhilHealth and the Bureau of Immigration.

“At this point I think there is no evidence of massive corruption in the NBI. This is a laudable move for the NBI to arrest one of its members. The NBI should make an example out of Capiral that corruption has no place in the agency,” Drilon said.

“If we do not address this, everybody will believe that they can bribe the NBI and having that perception is not good in the fight against corruption,” he added.

Capiral was nabbed in an entrapment operation on Monday night. He underwent inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice on Wednesday morning.

The two are facing complaints for extortion under the Revised Penal Code and violation of the Anti-Graft Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employee, and Executive Order No. 608 which established a national security clearance system for government personnel with access to classified matters.

Drilon said that Capiral’s case is among the reasons why the public tend to lose confidence in the government’s ability to stop corruption.

“This is one of the reasons why Filipinos are losing faith in the ability of the government to fight corruption. This only shows how rampant corruption is today,” he said.

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NBI forensic team, nasa Jolo na para sa imbestigasyon sa Jolo bombings

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2020

Dumating na sa Jolo, Sulu ang forensic team na ipinadala ng National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) para tumulong sa pagsasagawa ng imbestigasyon sa nangyaring magkasunod na pagsabog doon noong Lunes.

Ayon kay Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, inatasan na niya ang grupo na i-secure ang pinangyarihan ng pagsabog pati na ang mga ebidensiyang makakalap mula sa lugar.

May sampung araw ang NBI forensic team para magsumite ng inisyal na ulat at makakuha ng sapat na ebidensiya para sa pagsasampa ng kaukulang kaso sa mga nasa likod ng pag-atake.

“The NBI can identify the nationality of the alleged suicide bombers and their co-conspirators after a thorough investigation,” ani Guevarra.

Una nang sinabi ng Philippine Army na dalawang babaeng suicide bomber ang nasa likod ng pambobomba.

Kinilala ang mga ito na sina alyas Nanah mula sa Basilan at asawa ni Norman Lasuca na kauna-unahang naitalang Filipino suicide bomber; at si alyas Inda Nay na mula naman sa Tawi-Tawi at asawa ng nasawing suspected terrorist na si Abu Talha.

Ang dalawang babaeng suicide bombers ay kabilang umano sa mga sinusundan ng apat na sundalong napatay ng mga pulis sa Jolo noong Hunyo 29.

Samantala, tiniyak naman ni Guevarra na ipatutupad ng pamahalaan ang Anti-Terrorism Law ng naayon sa batas bagaman wala pang inilalabas na implementing rules and regulations para rito.

Na kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na rin aniya ang desisyon kung muling magdedeklara ng martial law sa Mindanao, partikular na sa Sulu, kasunod ng pambobomba sa bayan ng Jolo.

“If it’s an act of lawless violence, the president may use his calling-out power to suppress further violence under Sec 18, art VII of the Constitution. If it’s an act of rebellion, and public safety requires it, the President may declare martial law in that part of Mindanao,” ani Guevarra

Una nang iminungkahi ng militar ang pagsasailalim sa martial law sa Sulu upang mapigilan ang iba pang plano ng mga terorista.

Ngunit tutol rito si dating Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan Sr. dahil hindi naman aniya napipigilan ng martial law ang mga insidente ng karahasan sa lalawigan.

“Object kami dyan, ayaw naming. Hindi tama ang solusyon na yan, ilang beses na sinubukang mag-martial  law di naman naalis ang giyera dito e,” ani Tan. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Dante Amento)

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