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Mabatid a no-show in Senate, told to explain why she should not be held in contempt

13 February 2024


Mabatid keeps photos of her with top politicians on her Facebook account

Embattled visa consultancy operator Prisca Nina Mabatid has been told to explain why she should not be held in contempt for failing to comply with an order to attend today’s Senate committee hearing on the massive illegal recruitment charges filed against her.

The “show-cause” order was issued on the orders of Senator Raffy Tulfo, head of Senate’s Committee on Migrant Workers, which is carrying out the inquiry along  with Senator Risa Hontiveros.

“Before we proceed with the testimonies of the victims, we have received a letter from the lawyers of Nina Mabatid citing conflict of schedule to justify her absence in today’s hearing,” said Senator Tulfo, showing obvious displeasure.

Buksan ang mga tip

He immediately ordered the committee secretariat to issue an order to Mabatid telling her to  “show cause” why she should not be held in contempt, but did not indicate a deadline for her compliance.

In the previous hearing on Feb. 7, the National Bureau of Investigation revealed that Mabatid was recorded as having arrived in the country from the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 26 after being put in the Immigration watchlist. Senator Risa Hontiveros immediately asked that she be asked to appear in today’s session to address the charges against her.

At today’s hearing, the NBI senior investigator Paul Tumbali said he was about to  file charges of large-scale illegal recruitment and syndicated estafa against Mabatid, based on complaints filed by 15 alleged victims who hail from different parts of the country.

How? Pindutin ito!

Tumbali also said there are a total of 10 other cases about to be filed against Mabatid in her hometown of Cebu. Another similar case filed against her in Baguio City was resulted in a warrant of arrest being issued against her. However, it was held in abeyance pending the hearing of a motion for reinvestigation filed by her lawyers.

Today's Senate Committee hearing which Mabatid skipped due to 'schedule conflict'

Mabatid, a former Cebu City councilor who operated two visa consultancy companies, Pinoy Care Visa Centre and Opportunities Abroad, is accused by more than 100 Filipinos based in and outside the Philippines, of reneging on her offer to help them secure student visas in Canada, after collecting processing fees of no less than P100,000 from each of them.

While they were supposed to enter Canada as students, Mabatid allegedly assured them that they could work and earn enough money there to pay for their tuition and living expenses. She also offered to lend them P1 million each as “show money” to support their visa application.


Among the complainants who testified at the hearing was Ronell Robles, who said that after paying the Php104,000 processing fee in cash  to Mabatid’s group, he was given a letter containing a “memorandum of agreement” stating that what he paid was non-refundable, for whatever reason.

Finding this alarming, Robles said he declined to sign the document and tried to get his money back, but was told it could no longer be refunded because he was already issued a  receipt.

Another complainant, Cherryl Genobebe  from Hong Kong, gave a detailed account of how Mabatid, along with her partner Russ Mark Gamallo and OFW blogger Bryan Calagui, had teamed up to entice hundreds of OFWs here to enlist with their student visa scheme.


Genobebe said that during her Hong Kong talk on Feb 19, 2023 Mabatid promised would-be applicants they would be going to Canada on a work-study program, and that they could bring along family members who would likewise work there legally.

But it was only after paying the required ‘spot cash’ of $18,731 (Php132,000) that the applicants were given a long list of  requirements they should comply with, and asked to sign a MOA with the non-refundable clause that they were not warned about beforehand.

When Mabatid returned to Hong Kong in June last year, Genobebe and some other applicants called the police to ask for help in securing a refund. Mabatid agreed to give back their money the following Sunday but reneged on her promise. The group then filed a complaint with the police and the Consulate.

According to Migrante International chairperson Joanna Concepcion, her group has received more than 150 such complaints between July and December last year, and all have been forwarded to the DMW and the NBI.

But the 20 or so complaints from Hong Kong were forwarded directly to the DMW, which in turn passed them on to the NBI for prosecution.

DMW Assistant Secretary Francis de Guzman said the Hong Kong cases have yet to be filed because all the elements of the alleged offence were all committed here, and the case has been classified by the police here as “fraud.”

He also said the complainants had merely asked for a refund of their money, but the OFWs who have been pursuing their case since June last year have objected to this, saying they want prosecution first and foremost, although compensation should come as a result of this.

The committee, which also continued an inquiry into another massive illegal recruitment of Filipinos for non-existent jobs in Italy, did not set the date for its next hearing.

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