NBI official, brod in BI nabbed for extortion
Brothers Joshua Paul (left) and Christopher John Capiral are placed under arrest during a sting at Joshua Paul’s office at the NBI on Monday night. Image courtesy of TV5.
STAR/File
NBI official, brod in BI nabbed for extortion
Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A National Bureau of Investigation official and his brother, who works in the Bureau of Immigration (BI), were arrested in an entrapment operation at the NBI’s main office on Monday night.

Members of the NBI’s Special Action Unit (SAU) under deputy director Vicente de Guzman III arrested legal assistance section chief Joshua Paul Capiral and his brother Christopher John, a BI special agent, while the two were counting the P200,000 marked money they received from one of the respondents in the BI’s “pastillas” scheme at around 8 p.m.

“This is part of our cleansing to rid our ranks of scalawags. If we can help other agencies clean their backyard, why not here?” De Guzman told The STAR.

Sources in the NBI said the Capirals met with the complainant in a restaurant in Manila and they went to Capiral’s office “for the payoff.”

“They didn’t know that they were already being monitored by the arresting team,” the source said.

The insider said the younger brother “was the conduit of the respondents and the one who was tasked to arrange the meetings and the payoffs.”

The money was allegedly for Capiral to exclude the respondent or weaken the charges in connection with the pastillas scheme, in which Chinese visitors bribe BI officials and personnel to enter the Philippines.

The scheme is named after a milk-based candy wrapped in white paper. Money is wrapped in paper prior to distribution to BI officials.

The source said Capiral allegedly demanded P100,000 to clear the respondent and dropped the names of his bosses in his illegal activities to “make it appear that he had their imprimatur.”

A Chinese citizen reportedly pays a P10,000 “service fee,” of which P2,000 goes to the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit officials, terminal heads and immigration supervisors on duty at the airport.

The remaining P8,000 is reportedly given to tour operators who will transport the Chinese from the airport to Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) facilities.

Chinese fugitives shell out as much as P200,000 to enter the country “worry-free,” sources said.

De Guzman did not confirm, pending investigation, that one of the respondents tipped off the NBI officials regarding Capiral’s modus.

Re-investigation

A Department of Justice (DOJ) official yesterday said they may reopen the investigation into the “pastillas” scheme 21 days after its investigators filed graft charges against 19 BI personnel before the Office of the Ombudsman on Sept. 1.

Undersecretary Markk Perete said the DOJ is monitoring the Senate inquiry into the scheme and “if there is evidence that the previous investigation may have been compromised, a reinvestigation may be conducted.”

Capiral’s arrest was confirmed by NBI anti-human trafficking division chief Janet Francisco in yesterday’s Senate hearing.

According to reports, Capiral was in charge of evaluating the NBI-SAU’s investigation of the scheme and recommended the inclusion or exclusion of BI personnel in the charges.

The NBI is also verifying reports that Capiral had been toning down charges in other cases, including the drug case against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.

The NBI also filed charges of corruption of public officials against Empire International Travel and Tours owner Liya Wu. – Evelyn Macairan, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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