DOJ files extortion, graft raps vs NBI exec, Immigration bureau staff over 'pastillas' scheme

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2020 06:33 PM

ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA – The Department of Justice has filed extortion and graft charges against a National Bureau of Investigation executive and a Bureau of Immigration personnel – the brothers embroiled in allegations of fixing the "pastillas scheme" investigation.

Senior State Deputy Prosecutor Richard Fadullon said Monday that cases for violation of Art. 294(5) of the Revised Penal Code on robbery through extortion, and section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act have been filed with a Manila court last Friday against NBI legal assistance section chief lawyer Joshua Paul Capiral and his brother, Bureau of Immigration personnel Christopher John Capiral.
 
Section 3(e) punishes persons causing undue injury to any party or giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of official functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. 
 
DOJ prosecutors found enough evidence that the brothers allegedly asked P100,000 from Immigration personnel implicated in the “pastillas scheme” in exchange for exclusion from charges. 
 
The “pastillas scheme” is the controversial modus operandi of illegally allowing Chinese into the country in exchange for money rolled in paper. 

 
Joshua Capiral, whose work with the NBI includes recommending persons for charging, allegedly recommended only 4 out of the 40 BI personnel tagged in the scheme. The NBI later filed raps against 19 persons.
 
His brother Christopher supposedly served as the link between Joshua and the Immigration personnel.
 
The brothers were arrested in an entrapment operation at the NBI executive’s office Monday last week and underwent inquest on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
 
Joshua is also facing an additional charge of violating section 7(b)(2) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, for engaging in private practice outside his employment which would conflict with his official functions. 
 
Additional raps for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees will undergo preliminary investigation at the DOJ, while an additional rap for violating Executive Order 608, which created the national security clearance system, was junked by prosecutors.
 
The scandal has prompted Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to order a reinvestigation of the "pastillas scheme" and to remind NBI and BI personnel, both under his watch, that corruption will not be tolerated.
 
The pastillas scheme has reached high-ranking officials with former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II accused of receiving money from the pastillas scheme through a helicopter in his hometown in Mulanay, Quezon. He has denied the allegation.