Ombudsman probes claims of ‘pastillas’ masterminds having contacts within its ranks
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman is now looking into the allegation of a whistleblower that the alleged masterminds of the “pastillas” scheme have a “contact” within its office, Senator Risa Hontiveros said Thursday.
“Inaalam na po ‘yan ng Office of the Ombudsman at sigurado po na kapag nalaman nila na mayroon at kung sino ‘yan, sino man sila, hindi sila papayag,” Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality that investigates the alleged racket, said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
(The Office of the Ombudsman is already looking into that and I am sure that they will not tolerate the supposed activities of that contact once they know his identity.)
Hontiveros said she is pleased that the Ombudsman has taken serious note of the allegation that surfaced during one of the hearings of the Senate committee.
Immigration Officer II Jeffrey Dale Ignacio, a self-confessed member of the “pastillas” group, earlier claimed that former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Ports Operation Division chief Marc Red Mariñas had supposedly said that they have a “contact” with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Ignacio said Mariñas mentioned this during one of the meetings he attended with other Immigration officials who were subpoenaed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Mariñas is tagged as the alleged “ring leader” of the “pastillas” scheme, wherein immigration officers purportedly extort money from Chinese nationals in exchange for their smooth entry into the Philippines.
But in a hearing on Wednesday, Mariñas denied having any connection with the Ombudsman as claimed by Ignacio.
Meanwhile, Hontiveros also suspects that there could be a bigger protector of the alleged masterminds tagged in the “pastillas” scheme apart from the personalities already identified by the whistleblowers during the Senate hearings.
“Mukhang posibleng may mas mataas pa na protector, dahil kung bakit napakalakas ng loob nila gumawa ng ganitong business model na napaka-efficient,” she said.
(It is possible that there is a bigger protector, because they are very confident in having this very efficient business model.)
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