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More Immigration execs face dismissal over ‘pastillas’ scam — spokesman


MORE Immigration (BI) officers and employees assigned to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) may be axed from their posts pending results of an ongoing investigation by a fact finding committee into the so-called “pastillas” scam.

Immigration spokesman Dana Sandoval told The Manila Times on Saturday that 19 officers assigned to the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were immediately relieved from their positions after the “pastillas” scam was exposed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros during a committee hearing at the Senate last week.

“Suspension will be a DoJ (Department of Justice) action,” she said.

READ: ‘Pastillas’ syndicate tough to crack — DoJ

The immigration officers, Sandoval said, headed the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU).

More than 500 immigration officers are assigned to the three NAIA terminals at any given time.

Whistle blower Immigration Officer 1 Allison Chiong had told senators that only 6 percent of immigration officers at the NAIA were not involved in the alleged scam.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that the BI would “cooperate with any impartial probe and lifestyle
check to be conducted by authorities”.

The BI chief said that he was disappointed with the unauthorized activities by some personnel who continued to commit irregularities despite the bureau’s determined efforts to get rid of the culture of corruption since 2016.

He claimed that the “accompanying trial by publicity” and intense public scrutiny against the BI would soon come to pass and the bureau would come out stronger.

“We have placed all of the accused in the Administrative holding office and have cancelled all their privileges. We shall
observe due process as we bring the accused to the court of justice.”

This incident and the corresponding consequences should serve as a strong warning and reminder to others not to engage in any unethical practices,” Morente added.

He further said that as added measures to deter and expose
any more illegal activities, new protocols have been included in the conduct of secondary inspections in open areas to improve transparency and installation of additional CCTV cameras in all areas of the primary inspectors. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL


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