National Bureau of Investigation-7 regional director, Lawyer Renan Oliva. (Photo from Gregy Magdadaro's FB page)

CEBU CITY – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Region 7 (Central Visayas) on Tuesday issued a stern warning to the public to avoid transacting with fixers in obtaining government documents to avoid being victimized by falsifiers.

Lawyer Renan Oliva, NBI-7 regional director, issued the warning as he announced the arrest on Friday of a 23-year-old woman from Lagtang, Talisay City for falsifying government documents she submitted to the US Embassy in Manila for her visa application.

Oliva said the woman used the identity of her friend in obtaining three documents – a Philippine passport issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, driver’s license issued by the Land Transportation Office, and the clearance issued by the NBI itself.

“This case was initiated by request for investigation last March 2021 by the Department of State, through the US Embassy in Manila. They requested for an investigation based on documents that was in possession of one US visa applicant who applied for an employment visa in the US Embassy,” Oliva said in a press briefing.

He said both parents of the woman who usurped an identity and the true owner of the identity being used by the suspect are acquaintances and are working in the US.

Investigation showed the suspect approached the parents of her friend in Barili and asked for their permission to use her friend’s identity in applying for US visa. 

Oliva said the parents denied such request, knowing the criminal liability of such practice.

He said the suspect who is now detained at the NBI holding cell is facing charges in violation of Republic Act (RA) 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 for securing passport using false statements and Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of RA 3815 or the Revised Penal Code for falsification of public documents by a private individual and use of such falsified documents.

The suspect will also be charged with  the violation of RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

“As you can see, the documents are there, they are legitimate documents issued by government agencies concerned. However, they are false documents in the sense that the data containing therein does not belong to the real person but to another person,” Oliva said.

He said government agencies that are issuing documents to the public are actively pursuing people who attempt to falsify their documents. (PNA)