The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) recently filed criminal charges against the alleged brains of the multi-billion peso bribery/extortion racket (or pastillas scheme) in the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The NBI, according to various published reports, identified the suspect as former BI Port Operations Division chief Marc Red Mariñas who was slapped with alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
Previously, the NBI also filed the same charges against 86 immigration officers allegedly involved in the scam designed to allow the problem-free entry into the country of countless foreigners as well as departing Pinay OFWs.
Hontiveros said the scheme, which started in 2017, is now is being investigated by the Senate committee on women and children, together with colleague Senator Imee Marcos.
Mariñas was fingered as the pastillas’ alleged brains by whistleblower Jeffrey Dale Ignacio during the ongoing Senate hearings into the BI shenanigans.
Lawyer Emeterio Dongallo of the NBI Special Operations Unit said seasoned lawyers and investigators had painstakingly pored over the pertinent documents as well as the testimonies of Ignacio and another whistleblower, Allison Chiong, before finally deciding to file criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against Marinas et al.
Hontiveros said the monies generated from the racket were allegedly extorted from some 3.8 million persons who were over the years trafficked at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, a great majority of whom were Chinese nationals hired by the Philippine Overseas Gaming Operators (or Pogos) which were allowed to freely operate here by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
Photo: CNN Philippines