Extortionist masquerading as BI officer unmasked

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    THE Bureau of Immigration yesterday warned Filipinos bidding to work abroad to be on the lookout for an extortionist masquerading as an immigration officer.

    Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the modus was discovered after a Filipina eyeing to depart for Dubai under a tourist visa was intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by a man who introduced himself as James, reportedly an immigration officer, who offered to escort her for a fee.

    Based on the complaint, Morente said James claimed he was an immigration officer assigned at NAIA and can facilitate her departure.

    The complainant told the BI that she agreed with the man’s offer and initially transferred P7,000 through Gcash and another P28,500 through bank transfer to the suspect.

    She again transferred P39,500 upon the instruction of the suspect. But when she went to the airport for her flight, she was intercepted by immigration officers.

    “The victim tried to ask for her money back from the suspect but he made excuses about it,” Morente said, prompting her to file a complaint.

    Moreno said they have no employee by that name and description. Morente said his office has sought the help of the National Bureau Investigation in going after the suspect.

    “I am unable to disclose the details of the said fixer but we received intelligence information about him yesterday. We already have his identity,” Morente said, adding the

    BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit and the Intelligence Division are working with the NBI to arrest the suspect.

    On Tuesday, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the NBI to widen its probe on fixers at the BI to include those who facilitate the passports and visas of foreigners.

    Guevarra’s order came after a law firm worker was arrested last week by the NBI inside the BI main office in Manila for allegedly working to release the documents of three Chinese for P900,000.

    The order came after opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros claimed the “pastillas scam” has mutated into a bigger modus at the BI.