Palace: Duterte still trusts BI’s Morente amid ‘pastillas’ scheme mess
MANILA, Philippines—Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente still enjoys the trust of President Rodrigo Duterte amid the so-called “pastillas” scheme or illegal airport escort service catering to Chinese nationals eyeing to work at Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (Pogo), Malacañang said Tuesday.
“Until he (Duterte) says otherwise, the assumption is he has confidence (in) him (Morente),” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said at a Palace briefing.
The pastillas scheme was exposed by Senator Risa Hontiveros during a Senate inquiry on crimes related to Pogos and Pogo workers.
Under the pastillas operation, 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.
The scheme was called “pastillas” supposedly because the bribe the money would be rolled in a bond paper like the wrapping of the Filipino milk candy.
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