By Benjamin Pulta

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – An internal investigation team has been formed by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Remulla to investigate the possible involvement of immigration lawyers in a scheme that facilitated 9G alien working visas for expatriates to companies with fraudulent records.

“We will have to be patient with the independent investigation by DOJ, together with the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), para malaman talaga natin kung ano talaga, gaano kalalim itong problema na to (to get to the bottom of this problem),” DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano said.

Clavano noted that the scheme at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) appears to have been going on for years.

Yung time period kasi na tinitignan natin, medyo malaki ito (The time period we are looking at is lengthy). We’re starting with the five years that have passed, and then given kung ano ‘yung makita natin doon, baka mag extend pa yan para makita talaga natin kung gaano katagal na ito (what we can glean from it, we might extend the time frame to see how long this has really been going on),” he added.

The scheme was discovered when an operation in Makati City on Jan. 22 to serve a warrant of arrest against a Taiwanese national implicated in a human trafficking case, along with a second foreigner, found that the subjects were holders of 9G visas.

Clavano said the operation also uncovered other fraudulent activities like online scamming, gambling, illegal drugs and illegal firearms.

Authorities also found in the possession of the two foreign nationals various government identification cards, including drivers’ licenses and even national ID cards, that bore different Filipino names.

He said the focus of the DOJ investigation will be on how the government IDs were obtained, for what purpose they were used and ultimately, what crimes could be charged against the suspects.

Clavano said those involved may be charged for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law, falsification of public and private documents, and even estafa if the IDs were used in transactions. (PNA)