BI relieves immigration officers linked to ‘outbound pastillas’
MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has relieved 43 immigration officers allegedly involved in the trafficking of Filipino workers to Syria.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente reported this on Tuesday during a hearing of the Senate women committee, which is investigating the alleged “outbound pastillas” scheme within the bureau.
“I have relieved them from their positions. That’s the action that I can take. Doon sa suspension, even a one-day suspension is not within the authority vested on the commissioner,” Morente said.
Furthermore, he said the BI has recommended to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that these officers be charged with grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, among others.
“I have forwarded to the DOJ the fact-finding report, with recommendations for the consideration of the department on the charging of these immigration officers for several violations, ranging from grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and the like,” the BI commissioner said.
“We have submitted the report of the fact-finding [committee], with the recommendations on the charging of these people so that the secretary [of justice] can suspend them,” he added.
The BI is under the DOJ.
DOJ Assistant Secretary Nicholas Felix Ty told the committee that the department usually “adopts the recommendations of the BI on these matters.”
The BI’s fact-finding committee was created after four Filipino trafficking victims in March testified before the Senate committee that some immigration officers are allegedly receiving payments from recruiters worth P50,000 for each worker trafficked out of the country.
During Tuesday’s hearing, three young women also disclosed that they were trafficked to Syria when they were still minors.
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