The National Bureau of Investigation has filed graft and other charges against the head of the bureau’s Legal Assistance Section, lawyer Joshua Paul Capiral, and his brother for demanding money from Chinese nationals in exchange for facilitating their entry here to work for the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations companies or POGOs.
The illegal operation has been called the “pastillas” scheme.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the arrests should serve as a lesson to other corrupt officials.
“The apprehension of a ranking official of the NBI is a stern warning to all that corrupt and other criminal activities will not be tolerated,” Guevarra said in a text message.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday urged the NBI to file a disbarment case against Capiral.
“This is called ‘bantay-salakay.’ The one tasked to investigate corruption was the one involved in corruption. This is one of the reasons why Filipinos are losing faith in the ability of the government to fight corruption,” Drilon said.
“This only shows how rampant corruption is today.”
Aside from filing criminal and administrative charges, Drilon said, the NBI should also file a disbarment case against Capiral.
“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.”
The “pastillas” scheme allows the smooth entry of Chinese nationals who were about to be employed by the POGOs in exchange of money.
Each arriving Chinese reportedly paid an additional P10,000 service fee, of which P2,000 was divided among officials from the bureau’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit, duty Immigration supervisors and terminal heads.
The money-making scheme was called “pastillas” because the grease money given to Immigration personnel was rolled in white paper similar to the sweet delicacy.
The Capiral brothers were arrested by NBI agents on Monday during an entrapment operation. It was reported that the brothers had been caught receiving marked money amounting to P200,000.
The two reportedly had also been extorting money from BI personnel being linked to the pastillas scheme in exchange for dropping the cases against them.
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