‘Pastillas’ 2.0? Probe on entry of nearly 28K Chinese ‘retirees’ in PH sought
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Tuesday called for an investigation on the entry of nearly 28,000 Chinese “retirees” in the Philippines, some of whom are as young as 35 years old.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) should look into whether a modus similar to the so-called “pastillas scheme” is involved in the entry of these Chinese, Pangilinan said in a message to reporters.
“Kahit ganun pa ang age requirement, dapat pa rin binususi ng husto at hindi ginawang unli[mited] entry ang 28,000 na sangkatutak na Chinese sa bansa. Lalo pa[ng] kaduda-duda ang laki ng numero ng mga Chinese nationals lalo na’t nabulgar ang pastillas sa [Bureau of Immigration],” the senator said.
“Ang tanong na dapat busisiin ng DOJ ay kung may ‘Pastillas Part 2’ ba sa PRA (Philippine Retirement Authority),” he added.
Pangilinan then noted that the current PRA head, General Manager Bienvenido Chy, served at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for more than two decades.
“The head of the PRA was with the [BI] for over 20 years. The similarities in terms of being too lenient on Chinese nationals appear to be a pattern,” Pangilinan said in a separate Viber message sent to INQUIRER.net.
The legislator also said the Senate’s blue ribbon and national defense committees should look into this matter.
“The Senate blue ribbon and [national] defense committees should also investigate the serious corruption and national security implications of the controversy,” he said.
Last week, the PRA suspended the granting of retirement visas to foreigners after several senators raised security concerns over the presence of around 28,000 Chinese “retirees” in the country.
“I was very upset,” Senator Richard Gordon told reporters in an online interview also on Tuesday, referring to the presence of 35-year-old Chinese “retirees” in the Philippines.
“Common sense naman ‘yan… With all due respect to China, their actions make me wary about them…Bakit kayo magpapapasok ng 35 years old?” he added.
He said he suspects that these young Chinese “retirees” could be secretly working for Philippine offshore gaming operators or being used for “intelligence activities.”
“That worries me even more,” Gordon added.
Asked if the Senate should investigate the policy allowing 35-year-old “retirees” in the country, the senator said: “Yeah. I think so.”
This, he noted, will also allow the PRA to explain its policy.
He likewise said questions on this issue can also be raised when the proposed budget of the PRA reaches the Senate plenary.
“We will have our chance, I can tell them before hand, tatanungin tayo ng mga senador diyan sa budget, siguradong lalabas ‘yan,” Gordon said.
“They better be ready kung hindi sila ready, then we will investigate,” he added.
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