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Unifil-Migrante urges immediate prosecution of Mabatid

18 April 2024


Mabatid confronts OFW complainants and the police during her last HK trip in June 2023

United Filipinos in Hong Kong has called on the Philippine government to immediately file charges against Prisca Nina Mabatid, who was named in sworn statements by no less than 22 migrant workers as being behind a student visa scam that defrauded them of some $400,000 (Php3 million).

In a statement issued today, Apr 17, Unifil-Migrante HK chairperson Dolores Balladares said: "It’s (been) almost a year since the OFWs in HK were victimized by the visa scam of Nina Mabatid, yet the justice they look forward to is uncertain.”

Balladares said that despite the mountain of evidence forwarded by the complainants to the Department of Migrant Workers, National Bureau of Investigation, as well as the offices of Senator Raffy Tulfo (who heads the Senate committee on migrant workers) and President Bongbong Marcos, the agencies involved have been “extremely slow” in filing charges.

“Where can the victims find justice, if the government is not keen on resolving the issues?" Balladares asked.


Apart from the Hong Kong OFWs, about 150 Filipinos from across the country and some overseas posts have similarly filed complaints against Mabatid and two companies associated with her, PinoyCare Visa Center and Opportunities Abroad, all claiming to have been tricked into paying at least Php100,000 each on the promise that they would be helped in securing work in Canada while on student visa.

The DMW and the NBI have repeatedly assured the complainants and the Senate committee that charges of large-scale illegal recruitment and syndicated estafa have already been filed against Mabatid and her co-accused, but to date, no court document has been shown to them to support the claim.

“Despite the large number of victims and complainants, videos as evidence of fraud, and the DMW itself declaring the agencies owned by Mabatid to be illegal, still no cases have been filed,” Balladares said.

Worse, said Balladares, Mabatid was allowed to harass her victims, and even filed a cyberlibel case against lawyer Daisy Mandap, a respected journalist and migrants rights advocate who was singled out for reporting on the case, despite it being covered by other mainstream publications in Hong Kong.

Unifil-Migrante HK has staged several rallies calling for  Mabatid's prosecution

The OFW complainants alleged that during her recruitment drive in Hong Kong on Feb. 19, 2023, Mabatid, together with her partner Russ Mark Gamallo and OFW blogger Bryan Calagui, promised to help them move to Canada on a work-study program within just three months if they paid a processing fee of HK$18,731 on the spot, or no later than three days.

Failing to get the promised help from Mabatid and her staff, the complainants called the police to help them secure a refund when the group returned to Hong Kong on June 18 last year for another recruitment activity at the Sunbeam Theater in North Point.

To appease them, Mabatid told the police she would give back the complainants' money at the Philippine Consulate offices the next Sunday, June 25, but did not show up. As a result, the OFWs, helped by the MFMW, went to the police to file complaints against Mabatid, Gamallo and Calagui. 

The police investigation is continuing, as more complainants against Mabatid and company have emerged.


Simultaneously, the complainants executed sworn affidavits at the Consulate detailing their complaints against the three, which the Migrant Workers Office subsequently endorsed to the DMW for immediate action.

Balladares said that if the current national government prioritized job creation instead of labor exportation, migrant workers will not easily fall prey to illegal recruiters and human traffickers in their desire to provide a better life for their families.

She mentioned the case of Mary Jane Veloso who was arrested in Indonesia for drug trafficking, and remains imprisoned there because of the government’s alleged failure to act faster in providing her help.

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