By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte said there is no other way but to suspend immigration personnel involved in the “pastillas scheme” after intelligence agents confirmed its existence at the Bureau of Immigration.
Duterte made the statement following reports that immigration officials received P10,000 grease money rolled up in bond paper from Chinese nationals as “escort fee” for a worry-free entry into the Philippines.
In an exclusive interview with GMA News’ “24 Oras Weekend,” Duterte said he had the reports verified when he first heard it.
“I had it verified. There’s truth kaya ako sabi ko (That’s why I said) there’s no other way to do it except to suspend them and investigate them,” he said.
Last week, President Duterte relieved all immigration officials and employees who reportedly received bribes from Chinese nationals to illegally work in the country.
The modus was uncovered while the Senate was investigating the sex trafficking and prostitution that ran alongside Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) whose employees are mostly Chinese.
In a Senate hearing last week, Immigration Officer Allison Chiong revealed that majority of his colleagues at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were in on the scheme, and only 10 percent were not.
In an interview with Malacañang reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured the public that the law will be implemented on those who entered the country illegally.
“Basta yung mga illegal, papabalikin natin sa pinanggalingan nila (We will send those who came here illegally back to where they came from),” he said.
“Basta may illegal na ginawa, ang Presidente natin palaging ipatupad ang batas (As long as they did anything illegal, the President will make sure that they will answer to the law),” he added.