Chinese mafia behind fake Philippine passports – lawmaker

File photo shows a man holding a Philippine passport.
The STAR / Edd Gumban, File

MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese mafia is providing Chinese nationals with seemingly legitimate Philippine passports using “spurious documents,” according to Rep. Robert Ace Barbers.

Local government units (LGUs) and state agencies should stay vigilant amid reports of Chinese nationals holding illegally acquired passports, Barbers said yesterday.

The Bureau of Immigration, the Philippine Statistics Authority and LGUs should “hunt down” members of the Chinese mafia, he added.

Barbers recalled the case of Willy Ong, a Chinese national who secured a birth certificate indicating he is a Filipino, as well as a unified multi-purpose ID and a driver’s license issued by the Land Transportation Office.

This surfaced during the ongoing investigation of the House committee on public order and safety on the importation of some 530 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu valued at P3.6 billion, allegedly kept in one of Ong’s four warehouses in San Jose Malino, Mexico, Pampanga.

The shabu shipment was smuggled into the country through the Subic Freeport in 2023, according to Barbers.

Barbers, chair of the House committee on dangerous drugs, noted that Ong, through his cohorts or the Chinese mafia “who work for him, presumably, was able to secure a Filipino birth certificate via late registration with certain LGUs.”

“With his forged Filipino birth certificate, Ong was able to secure a Philippine passport and other government-issued IDs,” he added.

During the hearing, it was found that Ong also managed to register his real estate company, Empire 999, with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ong has been engaged in huge land acquisitions in Mexico, Pampanga where he and his Chinese partners built a gasoline station and four large warehouses, among others, in the province.

Barbers said other Chinese with forged Filipino IDs reportedly engaged in a huge land acquisition spree in Bulacan, Palawan, Zambales, Isabela and other parts of the country, establishing warehouses and other “business fronts.”

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