By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has suspended 18 Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers and employees allegedly involved in extorting P9.2 million from South Korean nationals.
DOJ spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra himself gave the order to suspend the 18 officers and employees.
“The Justice Secretary, after evaluating the sworn statements of the Korean nationals as well as the documentary evidence provided by the BI, found a prima facie case against said officers and employees for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,” said Perete.
The 18 BI officers and employees have been suspended for 90 days pending investigation on the charges against them.
“The Secretary also ordered them to submit their respective answers within seventy two (72) hours from receipt of the formal charge issued against them,” Perete said.
“Meanwhile, the Office of the Secretary is evaluating the proper course of action as regards job order contractors who allegedly participated in the extortion of the Korean nationals,” he added.
Guevarra issued the suspension order after BI Commissioner Jaime Morente himself asked the DOJ to suspend the 18 BI officers and employees.
The 15 Korean nationals alleged that last March 6 they were apprehended by BI agents for allegedly overstaying.
Under threat of detention, the Koreans were forced to shell out various sums of money which totalled P9.2 million.