Drilon seeks disbarment of NBI official tagged in BI ‘pastillas’ scheme
MANILA, Philippines — Authorities should file a disbarment case against the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) official allegedly receiving bribes from those linked with the money-making “pastillas” scheme in the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.
Drilon, a lawyer and a former justice secretary, issued the call following the arrest of NBI legal assistance division Atty. Joshua Capiral, who allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for being excluded from charges.
“Nakakahiya. Ito’y tinatawag nating bantay-salakay (It’s a shame. This is what we call ‘bantay-salakay’)” Drilon said in an interview over Teleradyo. “Can you imagine? An investigator of a corrupt case being corrupt himself?”
“Sa akin, dapat sampahan ng disbarment case itong si Capiral. Nakakahiya po ito sa aming propesyon. E kami po inatasan ng aming propesyon na ang katotohanan ay ilabas,” he added.
(For me, a disbarment case should be filed against Capiral. This is embarrassing for our profession. Our profession mandates us to bring out the truth.)
The minority leader also reiterated his call for a “top-to-bottom” revamp of the BI.
“Dahil nagulat na itong investigator ng NBI ay siyang nangingikil dun po sa mga respondents. Kaya po ang [‘pastillas’] whistleblower, si Alex Chiong, sinasabi niya na yung mga ‘bosses’ di kasama sa kaso, kaya nakakapagtaka. Binanggit niya, yung Red Marinas, di daw kasama, yung isang Erwin Ortañez,” he said.
(Because I was shocked that an NBI investigator himself is the one accepting bribes from the respondents. That’s why our whistleblower, Alex Chiong, said that the ‘bosses’ of the scam were not included in the charges. It’s really surprising. He mentioned Red Marinas as well as a certain Erwin Ortañez.)
Marinas is the former chief of the Ports Operation Division while Ortañez is the chief of BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit.
Earlier, the NBI filed a complaint against 20 individuals, composed of 19 immigration officers and an owner of a travel agency, who are allegedly involved in the modus.
“Yun pala kaya di kasama kasi humihingi ng suhol itong NBI official na si Capiral,” Drilon went on. “Ito po’y nagpapakita lamang kung gaano kalawak ang katiwaliang nangyayari sa ating paligid.”
(Turns out the reason they were not included is probable because this NBI official was asking for bribes. This shows the widespread corruption around us.)
Asked if he sees the need for a separate Senate inquiry to look into possible cases similar to that of Capiral’s, Drilon said he would support such an investigation if there is proof that bribery is widespread within the NBI.
“Kung meron pang ibang ebidensya na talagang talamak itong kanilang operation, e susuportahin ko po ang mas malawakang imbestigasyon,” the senator said.
(If there is evidence that this is a widespread operation, then I will support an investigation.)
“Ngunit sa ngayon, e mukhang isolated. Sa tingin ko, wala pang ebidensiya na ito’y malawakang nangyayari sa NBI. Sa akin po, kailangan itong si Capiral ay dapat sampahan ng kasong kriminal, paalisin at sampahan ng disbarment,” he added.
(But right now, it looks like this is still an isolated case. I think there is no evidence yet that this is widespread. For me, Criminal cases should be filed against Capiral, he should be removed and disbarred.)
Drilon said Capiral’s case is among the reasons why the public tend to lose trust in the government’s ability to address corruption.
“Kung hindi po matigil ito e wala na pong maniniwala kung yung iniimbestiga e pwede silang maglagay at para po sila ay maabswelto. Ito po ay nakakahiya,” he added.
(If we cannot stop this, no one will no longer believe in the credibility of our investigations when the investigator himself is accepting bribes from those he is investigating. It’s shameful.)
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