NBI, Immigration officials in airport scheme indicted

nbi immigration officials in airport scheme indicted - NBI, Immigration officials in airport scheme indicted

GOVERNMENT prosecutors have indicted a couple of officials from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) for corruption in connection with the illegal entry of foreign nationals for a fee.

In a resolution, the Justice department charged the brothers — one was an NBI legal assistance chief and the other an employee of the Immigration bureau — for graft and extortion.

The agency filed the charges in a Manila trial court on Friday, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony D. Fadullon said in a statement. The cases are bailable, he added.

A bail of P100,000 each was set for the extortion charge and P90,000 each for graft. The brothers were arrested last week and the complaints were filed by government agents on Wednesday.

The two were accused of accepting bribes from other officials tagged in the money-making scheme involving foreigners at the international airport in Manila.

State agents early this month filed a corruption complaint against 19 Immigration officials and employees involved in the scheme that allowed foreigners to enter the country even without the required documents.

Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel at the height of the Senate investigation this year showed a video of incoming Chinese nationals being escorted to an office at the international airport in Manila.

She also showed screenshots of Viber messages among Immigration officers discussing the bribery scheme, as well as a worksheet containing the P10,000 paid by each of the tourists.

An immigration officer earlier told a Senate committee some blacklisted foreigners had been granted entry for as much as P200,000.

The Immigration bureau earlier asked the Justice department and NBI to probe corrupt practices at the airport, including human trafficking and escort services.

Immigration officials have denied knowledge of the illegal scheme.

Ms. Baraquel had urged the government of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to deport Chinese criminals with links to offshore gaming companies here and who bribed their way into the country.

She cited reports that $447 million (P22.68 billion) had entered the country from September last year to February, half of which was traced to Chinese nationals.

Senator Richard J. Gordon earlier claimed Chinese nationals had brought in more than $160 million in cash into the country since December, and raised the possibility of money laundering activities.

He said Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) were probably being used as fronts for Chinese spies.

The Immigration bureau earlier said it had revamped workers at Terminals 1 to 3 of the international airport in Manila after the “recent resurgence of unauthorized activities and irregularities” there.

The agency relieved 19 officials and employees allegedly involved in a bribery scheme that allowed the illegal entry of Chinese nationals who end up working in offshore gaming companies here. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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