More BI officials will be sacked over ‘pastillas scheme’ – Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Wednesday that more officials at the Bureau of Immigration could be sacked due to the “pastillas scheme” under which airport personnel would receive kickbacks in exchange for the assured entry of Chinese nationals.
“I am insisting on the ouster of all involved. I think we have terminated [some of them], but there will be more,” Duterte said in an ambush interview.
“They should be replaced. All of them,” he added. “And I am asking the commissioner of the civil service to give me a list of, first, the grades of all those who passed. Good records scholastically,” Duterte added.
Duterte earlier ordered the relief of all Immigration officials involved in the alleged pastillas scheme.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) chief Jaime Morente, however, retains his post as Congress probes the supposed bribery modus, Duterte said.
“I think there is going to be an investigation by Congress. I defer to Congress first before I make a decision. He [Morente] will be there so nobody will have cause to say anything. He tells the story from where he stands,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“I think the Secretary of Justice is also doing his homework,” Duterte added.
Malacañang earlier said Morente was not yet off the off, though the President stood by him amid the controversial scheme.
Duterte earlier vouched for Morente, saying he “loves” the BI chief, a former city police director in Davao City.
In a Senate hearing, Sen. Risa Hontiveros bared that an arriving Chinese national would shell out a P10,000 as a service fee, of which P2,000 would be divided among officials of the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit, duty immigration supervisor, and terminal heads.
The scheme came to be called pastillas because the bribe money would be rolled in a sheet of bond paper similar to the wrapping of a type of Filipino milk candy of the same name.
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