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NBI ordered to unmask cohorts in ‘pastillas’ scam

BY JEFFREY DAMICOG

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to expand its probe on the so-called “pastillas” money-making scheme at the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

GUEVARRA

Guevarra said on Tuesday the expanded probe will cover the activities of “fixers” to determine who their cohorts are among BI personnel so that appropriate administrative and criminal charges may be filed against them.”

Under the “pastillas” scheme, BI officials and personnel have been reportedly receiving bribe money to facilitate the entry of foreigners, Chinese nationals in particular.

It was called “pastillas” because the money is wrapped in white paper to make it look like the Filipino delicacy.

This week, Sen. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel urged the NBI to expand its investigation into the scam and include travel agencies.

The senator had claimed that the “pastillas” scam has mutated and involved travel agencies.

Hontiveros made the call after the NBI arrested during an entrapment operation a law firm employee who received P900,000 to facilitate the entry of three Chinese nationals.

The arrested suspect claimed she has been conniving with a travel agency in helping Chinese nationals enter the country.

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