5 immigration officers sacked over ‘pastillas’ bribery scheme for Pogo workers
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has relieved from their posts five officers due to command responsibility over the alleged “pastillas” modus or the facilitation of the entry of thousands of Chinese nationals who will work for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos) in exchange for bribes.
“They were relieved from their posts due to command responsibility. But the investigation does not revolve entirely around them. We’re looking at the bigger picture, all that might be connected to this alleged scene, whether internal or external,” BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said in a text message to INQUIRER.net on Tuesday.
Sandoval earlier said that Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente was “deeply alarmed” by the alleged modus where a P10,000 bribe is supposedly concealed and wrapped in paper resembling the local sweet delicacy “pastillas”beore being handed over to errant immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The reported scheme was exposed by Senator Risa Hontiveros during a Senate hearing on Monday on crimes related to Pogos and Pogo workers.
Under the scheme, each arriving Chinese national reportedly shells out a P10,000 service fee, of which P2,000 will be divided among officials of the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit, duty Immigration supervisor, and terminal heads.
The rest of the amount will be given to tour operators and syndicates who will transport the Chinese nationals from the airport to POGO facilities.
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