A man was arrested after being caught selling passport renewal schedules in a joint operation led by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the National Bureau of Investigation.
According to John Consulta's report on "24 Oras", the suspect Modesto Bartolome Jr. was brought in by the NBI Special Task Force along with seized marked money and a newly issued Philippine passport.
Schedules for passport renewals with the DFA have been difficult to come by due to the pandemic.
As a result of this, listings for passport renewal schedules popped up online with prices ranging from P2500 to P20, 000.
The usual passport renewal fee with the Department of Foreign Affairs is only P950.
The suspect denies any illegal action.
“All allegations are false. Mali po, sasagutin ko na lang po ‘yan.” Bartolome said.
ARTA and NBI have presented the seized evidence, including a private email where the transactions took place, to the DFA.
The NBI intends to check the digital trail of the online listings to find who is securing the listed schedules for sale.
“Ang trabahong ito ay very significant because natuklasan natin na may nagsasamantala sa appointment ng passport. May passport appointment for sale, may kumikitang tao.” NBI STF Chief Atty. Bernard dela Cruz said. -Jiselle Casucian/NB, GMA News