The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered a reshuffle of officials and personnel at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to address allegations of corruption, particularly, their involvement in the “pastillas” money-making scheme.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he gave the directive considering that those he ordered reshuffled are among those named as respondents in the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB).
“In view of the filing by the NBI of cases before the OMB against certain BI 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,” he said.
“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 added.
The NBI filed last Sept. 1 a complaint before the OMB against 19 immigration officers (IOs) and immigration personnel (IPs) for their involvement in the “pastillas” scheme.
Those named as respondents in the complaint are Grifton San Pedro Medina, Deon Carlo Albao, Fidel Mendoza, Abdulhafez dela Tonga Hadjibasher, Gabriel Ernest Mitra Estacio, Ralph Ryan Macahilo Garcia, Phol Bendana Villanueva, Abdul Fahad Guro Calca, Danilo Caro Deudor, Mark Dollete Macababad, Aurelio Somera Lucero III, George Bituin, Salahudin Pacalda Hadjinoor, Chevy Chase Reyes Naniong, Jeffrey Dale Salamde Ignacio, Hamza Usudan Pacasum, Manuel Brillante Sarmiento III, Cherry Pie Payabyab Ricolcol, and Er German Tegio Robin.
“Based on the evidence gathered, supported by photos and video recordings submitted by the whistle blower, subjects in this case indeed committed criminal transgressions and should be held liable thereof,” the NBI earlier said in a statement.
The NBI said recommended to the OMB that all 19 respondents “be criminally and administratively charged with violations of Sections 3(a) and 3(j) of RA (Republic Act) 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
The bureau also asked the OMB that all 19 BI IOs and IPs “be immediately placed under Preventive Suspension to preclude them from influencing instant investigation.”