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Supreme Court clears NBI official and brother BI official

The Supreme Court (SC) cleared a former official from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and his brother who is a Bureau of Immigration (BI) officer, of charges of graft and corruption, robbery -extortion and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard of Public Officials and Employees after they were dragged into the controversial “pastillas scam” issue at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Atty. Joshua Paul Capiral, former chief of the NBI Legal Assistance Office and his brother Immigration Officer (IO) Christopher John Capiral were first acquitted by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 18 after a case was filed against them by Jeffrey Dale Ignacio, in connection with the “pastillas” scheme at the BI.

Aside from graft, the brothers were also charged with robbery- extortion as Ignacio claimed they asked for P200,000 from him in exchange for legal services and dismissal of his criminal case at the Office of the Ombudsman.

In its decision dated January 3 ,2022, the court dismissed the graft case for failure of the prosecution to present sufficient evidence.

“In the instant case, it was clearly set forth that the case where Ignacio was charged was pending with the Ombudsman, and there was no sufficient evidence to show that Atty. Capiral and IO Capiral, who are employees of the NBI and BI, respectively, had established connections with the Ombudsman, a different government agency, sufficient to influence the cases pending with the said office,” the court said.

“Hence the Court finds that the prosecution’s evidence fell short in proving all the elements of violating Sec 3 of RA 3019,” it added.

The RTC Branch 18 also favored the demurrer to evidence filed by the Capirals, adding that Ignacio failed to narrate the incidents that could have been the reason why he gave the brothers money.

“Ignacio failed to narrate an event that might constitute intimidation, which forced him to give money. Ignacio later admitted that the accused did not ask for money,” the decision said.

The SC noted that Ignacio admitted he never had any communication with Atty. Capiral during the entrapment operation.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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