NBI identifies Okada and Midas hotels as among those used by POGOs as prostitution dens

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The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has identified several luxury hotels such as  Midas and Okada in Pasay City which have  been used   as “prostitution dens” catering to Chinese nationals.

Majority of these Chinese  are working in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) whose bribes to immigration officials was estimated to reach P50 billion. 

NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division chief Joel Tovera, during a Senate inquiry Monday, said they have monitored certain prostitution activities in these hotels in Pasay City and ither KTVs in Metro Manila. 

Tovera also told the Senate committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros, there was a hotel in Makati where the whole floor was used for prostitution.

Tovera was  questioned  by Hontiveros during the Senate hearing into fhe country’s prostitution rings and trafficking, mostly  involving Chinese nationals. 

He mentioned about a condo type building in Las Pinas City where two floors were being tapped for this illicit activities. He also said Red Planet Hotel in Makati also catered to prostitution. 

According to Tovera, these hotels and other establishments have repeatedly denied the existence of prostitution in their places and have been uncooperative.

He rejected the claims by the management of hotels, KTVs and other establishments that they have no knowledge of an ongoing prostitution within their turfs. 

The NBI official said they have all the means and the time to check what’s happening in their establishments.

Officlas and representatives of business establishments summoned by the committee to the hearing all denied knowing any prostitution activity in their places. 

Tovera said he had submitted to Hontiveros committee a list of eatablishments which are being used as prostitution havens servicing mostly Chinese nationals.

He recalled an instance when they swooped down on a suspected prostitution den. “They were at first uncooperative, but since they were surprised.

In the same hearing, Hontiveros grilled immigration officials on the so-called pastillas, which they all referred to as “something sweet.”

They feigned  ignorance of the so-called “Pastillas” modus wherein corrupt airport employees and officials receive kickbacks in exchange for the seamless entry of Chinese nationals. 

Immigration Deputy Commissioner J. Tobias Javier and Port Operations Division head Grifton Medina, insisted having heard the modus operandi for the first time.

“This is the first time I saw this particular rundown of amounts,” Medina, adding that they have been initiating reforms in the bureau.

He said some airport officials have already been reassigned as part of their measures to combat corruption. 

“I know it’s a hard task that was given to me, but I took up the challenge… What I could say is we don’t tolerate these kind of activities,” said Medina. 

Hontiveros said that the Chinese nationals, who allegedly paid P10,000 service fee, are holding ordinary tourist visas. 

Special treatment on POGO workers entring the country was also manifested in the video.

Immigration officials were also in the so-called “welcome committee” who acted as escorts of the Chinese nationals. 

A guest list of Chinese nationals entering the country also appeared in  viber group. Sometimes, it has flight details and pictures of the arriivng Chinse nationals.

Hontiveros also revealed that for for every P10,000 paid  by a Chinese POGO, P2000 went to the airport immigration officers.

Based on their estimates,  Hontiveros said of the 1.8 Chinese who entere  the country, a million of them availed of the “pastillas” scheme.

“The lion’s share goes to the bosses,” Hontiveros told BI officials during the hearing.  “Somebody rigged the system, centralized the operations, and made this into a billion-peso enterprise.”

The Senator also vowed further investigation into the ‘pastillas’ system to weed out corrupt officials within the BI and propose policy changes.  /Stacy Ang 

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