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Immigration Nabs 2 Fake Pinoys, Reviews Case on Syndicate Behind Passport Scam

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has launched an investigation regarding the alleged syndicate behind the issuance of Philippine passports to illegal aliens or foreigners.

Acting on a complaint filed against two Indian nationals, agents from the bureau raided the Indians’ residence in a high-rise condominium in Mandaluyong City on July 24. In line with this, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to look into the case and how the involved foreigners were able to obtain fake documents indicating they are Filipino citizens.

Immigration Nabs 2 Fake Filipinos, Reviews Case on Syndicate behind Passport Scam

Credits: UNTV

2 Fake Pinoys Arrested by Immigration, Alleged Syndicate Under Investigation

The involved Indian nationals identified were Satbir Sandhu (25) and Mandish Sandhu (24). Mandish presented to the agents an original Philippine passport under the name Jeff Sunga Sandhu while his brother, Satbir, presented a Philippine postal ID and Manila Police Clearance under the name Sunny Sunga Sandhu, according to BI Intelligence Division Chief Fortunato Manahan Jr., as shared in a report by The Inquirer.

Following the arrest of the two Indian nationals, Morente commented that the situation could have security implications, and must be taken into serious account.

In a statement shared by the Immigration Bureau, “Upon issuance of the mission order, we located Mandish, who presented an original Philippine passport under the name Jeff Sunga Sandhu. Also with him was his brother, Satbir who presented a Philippine postal ID and Manila Police Clearance under the name Sunny Sunga Sandhu, a Filipino national.”

The investigation revealed that the two are Indian nationals and not Philippine citizens.

The BI further explained: “We have observed this to be a modus. Illegal aliens would acquire authentic documentation saying that they are Filipinos, and would at times possess birth certificates that were registered late. From this, they are able to acquire more documents for more Philippine IDs.”

Back in 2016, the immigration bureau noted that some 177 Indonesian nationals were found to be in possession of Philippine passports.

Going back to the ominous warning shared by the BI chief, the current system obviously has some loopholes, which as he put it, may have (serious) security implications to society, as well as the country in general.

Good thing, the administration is on its way to finalizing the Philippine National ID System (PhilSys ID), which aims to unify all government documents in one ID card. This means, there will be enhanced security features along with the national ID, which will be up for registration starting next month.

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