2 OFWs fall for bribing immigration officer

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2011 01:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2011 09:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Two would-be overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who posed as “sweethearts” bound for a vacation in Bangkok were stopped from boarding their plane at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Bureau of Immigration officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma said Marlon Abarentos and Rosalie Castillo failed to convince immigration officer Raul Medina that they were sweethearts.

The two were prevented from boarding a Thai Airways flight last February 9.

Ledesma said the OFWs later admitted they planned to go to Kuwait for work although they do not have valid work permits.

BI airport operations division chief, Atty. Maria Antonette Bucasas, said the tourists-disguised OFWs were already cleared for departure at the immigration counter and were walking towards the boarding gate when Medina accosted them.

Bucasas said the passengers aroused Medina's suspicion when the immigration officer noticed that the two were merely pretending to be sweethearts going on a pleasure trip abroad.

"Both of them presented two-way plane tickets and vouchers of their three-day hotel reservation in Bangkok to make it appear that they are tourists," Bucasas said.

US$200 bribe

When Medina told them that he could not allow them to leave, the passengers immediately handed him a white envelope containing US$200 bribe money. Medina rejected the money and arrested the duo.

During questioning, the suspects said their work visas and employment papers would have been given to them upon their arrival in Bangkok, where they would take a connecting flight to their true destination.

The two were charged with bribery before the Pasay City prosecutor's office.