2 National Museum officials arrested for extortion

Maris Federez   •   August 20, 2019   •   930

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

DOJ orders NBI to probe alleged ‘hospital pass for sale’ at Bilibid

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the purported “hospital pass for sale” to inmates of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), the latest in a series of alleged anomalies in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in recent weeks.

In the Department Order No. 479 dated Sept. 9, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the NBI to look into and conduct case build-up on the alleged illegal practice of transferring inmates to the NBP hospital in exchange for money.

“The NBI, through Director Dante A. Gierran, is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct an investigation and case build-up on the alleged illegal practice of transferring Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) to the New Bilibid Prison Hospital monetary consideration,” Guevarra said in his order.

“If evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against persons found responsible therefor,” he added.

Guevarra cited the provisions of Republic Act No. 10867 or the National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act which authorizes the Secretary of Justice to direct the NBI to undertake the investigation of any crime in the interest of the service and interest of the public.

The DOJ also directed the NBI to submit reports on the process of the investigation and case build-up.

The “hospital pass for sale” was revealed after witnesses said that moneyed inmates could get hospital referrals and other prison benefits from BuCor officials on the basis of tampered medical record that would make it appear that they need to be transferred to less congested facilities for health reasons.

The issue came on the heels of alleged sale of good conduct credits to convicts using the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, which hounded the BuCor since news on convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez’s possible release for good behavior broke out.

BuCor data revealed that around 1,914 convicts of heinous crimes have been released since the law’s enactment in 2013.

The issue led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Around 27 BuCor personnel were also ordered suspended without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman for gross misconduct and gross neglect of duty over the release of convicts.  

Raps filed against American woman caught hiding a baby inside her bag at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 5, 2019

Jennifer Erin Talbot

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed human trafficking and kidnapping with serious illegal detention charges against an American woman who was caught hiding a six-day old baby boy inside her bag at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The NBI filed the complaints against the woman, identified as Jennifer Erin Talbot, 43 who is now under its custody following her arrest on Wednesday morning.

Talbot was apprehended after she was reported by an airline personnel to be carrying an infant in her sling bag, without proper travel documents, when she was about to board a flight to the United States.

Talbot did not declare the baby when she passed thru the immigration counter at the airport.

The NBI said that upon investigation, Talbot failed to present travel clearance for the baby boy from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) nor a written consent from the infant’s parents.

The baby boy was born on August 29 in a hospital in Davao City to a mother who allegedly executed a notarized affidavit of consent and support to the infant’s travel to the US, but was not signed, according to the bureau.

The NBI said Talbot was charged for violation of the Section 4(k) in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act as amended by RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012; Section 10 (a) of RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code (Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention).

Talbot was presented for inquest proceedings before the office of the prosecutor of Pasay City.

The parents of the baby, identified as Maricris Cempron Dulap and an unnamed father, also face charges for child abuse. Both remain at large.

The baby has been placed under the care of the DSWD.

PACC to probe Bucor Chief, officials on anomaly in GCTA implementation

Maris Federez   •   September 3, 2019

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is set to investigate the Bureau of Corrections Director-General Nicanor Faeldon and other officials of the agency amid the controversial implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said they will start reviewing the Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance law to determine if there were any loopholes.

They will particularly look at how the Bucor implemented the said law and if the ones who effected the release of the prisoners were qualified under the law.

“We will conduct an investigation based on that. Was the law violated? Were there corruption involved? Mga allegations ng pagbebenta ng Kalayaan [Allegations of freedom for sale],” Belgica said.

Data from the Bucor said more than 2,000 heinous crime convicts were freed by virtue of the GCTA law since 2014.

The PACC head, however, said heinous crime convicts must not be eligible in the application of the law.

“Ang heinous crimes, penalized by death ‘yan eh. Kaso lang lifted ang death penalty ngayon. So meaning, if hindi lifted ang death penalty, then, patay na dapat ‘yung convicted for heinous crime. So, hindi na siya magka-qualify sa GCTA [Heinous crimes are penalized by death. However, the death penalty is now lifted. So meaning, if only the death penalty were not lifted, those convicted of heinous crimes will be dead by now. Meaning, these individuals will no longer be qualified to avail of the CGTA (benefit)],” Belgica added.

He also maintained that their investigation will be in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive.

He added that the President also plans to launch his own investigation on the case.

In case the Bucor officials will be found guilty, they will face administrative charges or be removed from their posts, depending on what the President will decide upon.

They might also face criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.

To date, the commission said it will keep track on the Senate hearing on the said controversy as they see that it will be a big help on their own investigation. (with details from Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

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