JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday disclosed that Immigration personnel implicated in the so-called “Pastillas Scheme” have been relieved from their posts following the filing by the National Bureau of Investigation of charges before the Ombudsman.
“In view of the filing by the NBI of cases before the OMB against certain BI (Bureau of Immigration) personnel in connection with the so-called ‘Pastillas’ scheme, these personnel have been relieved of their duties at the airports and were recalled to their mother units.”
“ At the same time I have reconstituted the Board of Discipline to commence administrative proceedings against them and other BI personnel suspected of corruption, misconduct, and other acts inimical to the service, “Guevarra said.
The so-called scheme hogged the headlines when it was uncovered that Chinese travelers can seamlessly enter the country in exchange for bribes
Under the pastillas racket, a Chinese citizen pays a P10,000 “service fee” – P2,000 of which will allegedly be shared among officials of the BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU), duty Immigration supervisor, and terminal heads.
The remaining P8,000 will then be given to tour operators and syndicates who will transport the Chinese from the airport to Pogo facilities.
It was also earlier disclosed during the previous hearing that blacklisted Chinese fugitives would pay as much as P200,000 to “freely” enter the country
The NBI has filed a complaint against 20 BI personnel in connection with the “pastillas” scam before the Office of the Ombudsman.
They were charged with violations under Sections 3(a) and 3(j) of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
A private individual named Liya Wu was also recommended to be charged for the crime of Corruption of Public Officials as defined and penalized under Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code, according to the NBI.
Wu is the owner of Empire International Travel and Tours, which was named as one of the travel agencies that allegedly paid “pastillas money.”
The “Pastillas scheme” was brought to light in February after a whistle blower named Allison Chiong appeared before the Senate to testify about the bribery scheme that allows Chinese nationals to enter the country with ease for a fee.