Immigration officer relieved from new post amid Naia smuggling probe
MANILA, Philippines — An immigration officer has been relieved from his new position as regional intelligence officer pending the investigation into the alleged human smuggling at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) last February 13.
Jeff Pinpin told the Senate blue ribbon committee on Monday that due to health reasons, he requested to be transferred from his position as an immigration officer on February 9. He was then designated to the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) intelligence office in Region 4.
Despite his impending transfer, Pinpin said that he assumed he was still on duty when the supposed human smuggling incident occurred since he had no replacement yet.
During the panel hearing, Senator Grace Poe asked BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco: “In light of the situation of what could be interpreted as highly irregular, are you doing your own investigation and will you have recommendations as to probably a reprimand or what consequences do you see happening here?”
Tansingco replied: “As a result of this incident, I relieved him also from his assignment at the Region 4 Intelligence Office. He is now assigned to the administrative division of the main office.”
The commissioner said that the administrative investigation had been submitted to the Board of Discipline for resolution — whether Pinpin would be charged.
For Senator Francis Tolentino, committee chairperson, Pinpin should not have been in the area while the alleged human smuggling occurred as he is only in a transition period to hand over his duties to his successor.
Last month, Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, delivered a privilege speech that an aircraft carried seven passengers, with foreign nationalities, out of the country despite an irregularity in the flight manifest.
Cloud Nine No. 1 Leasing Company Limited, a Hong Kong-registered leasing firm, operates the aircraft. Its ground handler is the local company Globan Aviation Service.
Globan earlier attempted to smuggle Mohit and Twinkle Dargani out of the country amid their involvement in the Pharmally scandal.
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