Immigration man in hot water — senator

March 20, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 88 views

SENATOR Francis Tolentino yesterday said the Immigration officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) who reportedly escorted private plane passengers allegedly involved in human trafficking may be held liable for usurping public functions.

Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, made the statement in the continuation of the investigation in connection with the alleged human trafficking activity at the NAIA last February 13 when Immigration officer Jeff Pinpin admitted to members of the panel that he was off duty when he escorted several foreign passengers into a private jet on that day.

“The mere fact that you were relieved February 9 has nothing to do with your assertion of having an ongoing function which is violative of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code. Alam mo tawag doon? Usurpation of Public Functions,” said Tolentino.

In the previous hearing, it was revealed that Pinpin was the “mystery immigration officer” who escorted the foreign passengers to a private flight even though he was off duty on February 13.

According to Tolentino, it is clear that under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code that any person who falsely represent himself/herself to be an officer, agent, or representative of any department “who under the pretense of official position shall perform any act pertaining to any person in authority shall suffer the penalty of prison correccional in its minimum and medium periods.”

“Knowingly, in-admit mo dito under oath — falsely… na ito na relieve ka na, eh, wala ka nang authority. Puwede kang hingian ng papel. Authorized ka pa ba? Relieved na ho kayo, anong ginagawa mo dito?” Gatchalian said.