BI chief recommends relief of acting port chief amid ‘pastillas’ controversy
MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente has recommended the relief of its official, who earlier claimed no knowledge about the so-called “pastillas” modus at Philippine airports.
Morente revealed this during Thursday’s hearing of the Senate committee on women headed by Senator Risa Hontiveros.
“On Feb. 19, I sent a memorandum to SOJ (Secretary of Justice), requesting for the confirmation of the relief of the acting port division chief as the investigation is presently ongoing,” he said.
“He should be assigned in the admin as well,” Morente added.
At this point, Hontiveros clarified if the BI chief has asked for the relief of Grifton Medina.
“Yes, Your Honor. I asked the permission of the Secretary of Justice,” Morente said.
Aside from Medina, Morente said he also ordered the relief and dismissal of other employees tagged in the alleged scam that Hontiveros exposed during Monday’s hearing of her panel.
He said he also directed concerned officials in the bureau to identify the personnel involved in the said scheme.
The modus was called “pastillas” as money was allegedly rolled up in bond paper like the popular local sweet delicacy.
Hontiveros said the bribe money given to corrupt immigration officials and employees in exchange for seamless entry to the Philippines of Chinese could have reached a total of P10 billion.
But during Monday’s hearing, Medina said it was the first time he heard of such modus.
“This is the first time I saw this particular rundown of amounts,” Medina then told the committee.
Edited by KGA
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.