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Former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Ports Operation Division (POD) chief Marc Red Mariñas on Tuesday denied the allegation of a whistleblower that he was the “ringleader” of the so-called “pastillas” scam.

He also denied having a contact in the Office of the Ombudsman who could assist his former colleagues facing corruption charges.

“Wala po akong contact as Ombudsman,” Mariñas said during the seventh hearing of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality.

The committee chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros resumed its investigation into the alleged bribery-extortion schemes in the BI involving Chinese nationals who wanted smooth entry into the Philippines.

A self-confessed member of the “pastillas” group said in an earlier hearing that the alleged masterminds behind the scheme, including Mariñas, are supposedly boasting of having a “contact” in th Ombudsman’s office.

Jeffrey Ignacio claimed that during one of the meetings he attended with other BI officials subpoenaed by the National Bureau of Investigation, Mariñas had supposedly told them that they have a contact with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Hontiveros asked Mariñas if he went to the Office of Ombudsman after that meeting with the BI personnel.

“I have never been to the Office of the Ombudsman,” Mariñas replied.

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