A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) lawyer and his brother who works as a Bureau of Immigration (BI) officer are facing complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for asking P200,000 from an immigration officer tagged in the “pastillas” scheme.
NBI legal assistance bureau chief Atty. Joshua Paul Capiral and his brother, BI officer Christopher John Caapiral were presented for inquest before the DOJ on Wednesday morning for robbery/extortion in violation of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); violating Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; Executive Order No. 608, s. 2007 Establishing A National Security Clearance System for Government Personnel With Access to Classified Matters And For Other Purposes; and for violating Republic Act 7613, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard for Public Officials and Employees.
NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said the Capiral brothers were arrested during an entrapment operation that was conducted at the NBI office last Monday night, Sept. 21, by the NBI’s Special Special Action Unit (SAU) led by its chief Atty. Emeterio Dongallo Jr.
Lavin said the brothers were caught in possession of P200,000 which they received from complainant, BI officer Jeffrey Dale Salamde Ignacio, who is one of the 19 respondents named by the NBI in the Sept. 1 complaint that was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) for their alleged involvement in the “pastillas” scheme.
The deputy director said the operation was conducted based on the complaint of Ignacio who revealed that he was approached by Christopher and offered that his brother Joshua can do something about his case.
“He was still being made to believe, pinapaniwala pa siya nitong si Capiral na ‘I can do something about it’ (Ignacio was being made to believe by Capiral that the NBI lawyer can still do something about the case),” the NBI spokesman said
Lavin also learned from Ignacio that Joshua has been asking P100,000 from every BI officer being investigated in the “pastillas” case.
“Ignacio went to NBI at sinasabi niya na ganyan ang arrangement P100,000 per person para ma-exclude ka o kaya, kung hindi ka matanggal, ma-weaken yung case against you (Ignacio went to the NBI and said there was an arrangement of P100,000 per person so that they can be excluded from the case or that the case against them can be weakened),” he said.
However, Lavin said Ignacio decided to seek the NBI’s help since the immigration officer is already facing a complaint before the OMB and the NBI has previously accepted his offer to become a witness.
Prior to Ignacio’s complaint, Lavin said Joshua was already being suspected of sabotaging the NBI’s “pastillas” case.
“Doon nalaman na yung duda all along na bakit ito natatagalan ng review, pabalik-balik yung papeles, di-nowngrade yung charges sa iba, inexclude yung iba doon nabuo (This revealed the doubts all along as to why the review was taking too long, the papers kept being returned, the charges against the others were downgraded, and others got excluded),” he said.
Prior to the filing of the complaint before the OMB, the deputy director said that Joshua only recommended charging only four out of the 19.
“It’s betrayal. You’re undermining the efforts of the agents,” Lavin said about the actions of the NBI lawyer.
Lavin assured the NBI’s Internal Affairs Division will investigate Joshua and assured that the NBI lawyer will face administrative charges.
“That may include looking into the other actions of Atty. Capiral in dealing with the cases he handled,” the NBI spokesman said.
Lavin said a re-investigation of the cases Joshua handled will no longer be needed and will just be reviewed.
He added that prosecution offices and the OMB may only have to review cases which were handled by the NBI lawyer.
Aside from Ignacio, the NBI named as respondents in its complaint before the OMB the following: Grifton San Pedro Medina, Deon Carlo Albao, Fidel Mendoza, Abdulhafez dela Tonga Hadjibasher, Gabriel Ernest Mitra Estacio, Ralph Ryan Macahilo Garcia, Phol Bendana Villanueva, Abdul Fahad Guro Calca, Danilo Caro Deudor, Mark Dollete Macababad, Aurelio Somera Lucero III, George Bituin, Salahudin Pacalda Hadjinoor, Chevy Chase Reyes Naniong, Hamza Usudan Pacasum, Manuel Brillante Sarmiento III, Cherry Pie Payabyab Ricolcol, and Er German Tegio Robin.
The NBI said it has recommended to the OMB that all 19 immigration officers (IOs) and immigration personnel (IPs) “be criminally and administratively charged with violations of Sections 3(a) and 3(j) of RA (Republic Act) 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
“These IOs (Immigration Officers)/IPs (Immigration Personnel)allow foreign nationals entry in the country despite the absence of the necessary documents as required by prevailing Immigration rules and regulations in exchange for the so-called ‘Pastillas money’,” the NBI previously said in a statement.
The bureau said investigators verified and looked into the sworn testimony of a whistleblower, an immigration officer who stated that “the IO/IP involved in the Pastillas scheme conspired, confederated, mutually helped, and aided one another in directly and indirectly requesting and receiving money, gifts, and other benefits, including sexual favors from trafficked foreign women.”
The NBI also asked the OMB that all 19 BI IOs and IPs “be immediately placed under Preventive Suspension to preclude them from influencing instant investigation.”
The NBI also recommended that Ignacio also be indicted for qualified trafficking in persons in violation of RA 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, and Empire International Travel and Tours owner Liya Wu for corruption of public officials in violation of Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).