Palace lauds dismissal of BI officers in ‘Pastillas’ scheme: No ‘sacred cows’ in Duterte admin
MANILA, Philippines — The dismissal of 45 Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers linked to the “Pastillas” scheme” shows there are no “sacred cows” in the Duterte administration.
Acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said this Monday as the Palace welcomed the Ombudsman’s decision to sack the BI officers.
“The recent decision of the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) dismissing immigration employees in connection with the ‘pastillas scam’ underscores that there are no sacred cows in the Duterte Administration,” Andanar said in a statement.
The Palace official, however, admitted that fighting corruption in government “remains a challenge.”
“We are, therefore, pushing for automation of government systems to avoid face-to-face contact at the same eliminate redundant processes, for effective and efficient delivery of government services,” he said.
In a 143-page decision, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said that the personnel involved in the scheme are “administratively liable for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”
Among those who were ordered dismissed is former Immigration acting Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina, who was included in the dismissal order earlier issued by the Department of Justice.
The Ombudsman had filed charges against 43 BI personnel for graft in relation to the bribery scheme.
The Pastillas scheme, which was first exposed in early 2020, allegedly allows Chinese nationals to enter the country without background checks in exchange for grease money. The infamous ploy was named after a Filipino candy – pastillas – as the bribe money was reportedly formed into rolls to make it look like the famous sweet confection.
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