Wed. Jul 28th, 2021

MANILA – The fate of Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente lies on the results of the pending investigations into the “pastillas” scheme or the supposed bribery of some Immigration officials, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday.

Morente stays as the head of the BI, Duterte told Palace reporters on the sidelines of an event at Palace’s Rizal Hall in Manila.

“Wala akong gagawin (I will not do anything). Not yet. Not after the investigation,” Duterte said, when asked if he would keep Morente as BI chief despite the latest controversy that hounds the bureau.

Some BI personnel are supposedly facilitating the entry of Chinese nationals working in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, in exchange for PHP10,000 grease money.

Around 18 immigration personnel have been relieved from their posts following their supposed involvement in the bribery scheme.

Last week, Duterte vouched for Morente’s integrity, despite the controversial scheme involving the relieved BI officials and employees.

The Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have separately probed the alleged “pastillas” scheme.

Duterte said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who supervises the NBI, is now “doing his homework” with regards to the unlawful money-making activity by some Immigration personnel.

More to be axed

Duterte said there will also be a next batch of BI officials and employees who will be relieved of their duties due to their supposed links to the “pastillas” racket.

“There will be more. Meron yatang napaalis na (I have already relieved some) but they should be replaced, all of them,” he said.

Duterte said he would ask the Civil Service Commission to give him a list of “first-grade” passers who have “good” scholastic records.

He said Civil Service passers with good track record will replace the erring BI personnel.

BI officer and whistleblower Allison Chong earlier claimed that around 90 percent of BI personnel are involved in the “pastillas” scheme. (iam/

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