44 Immigration officials in ‘pastillas’ scheme suspended

Published October 27, 2020, 11:57 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Forty-four personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) linked to the so-called “pastillas” controversy were preventively suspended for six months without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires signed the suspension order on Monday, October 26, and forwarded it to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente for implementation.

The multi-billion pastillas scheme involved immigration officers who were allegedly collecting grease money to allow the entry of Chinese nationals in the country even without background checks.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed in September a criminal complaint against 19 Immigration officers and personnel for their alleged involvement in the racket.

Based on the Ombudsman’s order, the six-month preventive suspension was imposed against the officials in the NBI complaint, and 25 others, namely:

• Erwin Ortañez
• Grifton Medina
• Glenn Comia
• Benlado Guevarra
• Danieve Binsol
• Deon Albao
• Arlan Edward Mendoza
• Anthony Lopez
• Cecille Jonathan Orozco
• Dennis Robles
• Bradford Allen So
• Vincent Bryan Allas
• Rodolfo Magbuhos Jr.
• Er German Robin
• Gabriel Estacio
• Ralph Ryan Garcia
• Phol Villanueva
• Abdul Fahad Calaca
• Danilo Deudor
• Mark Macababad
• Aurelio Lucero
• George Bituin
• Salahudin Hadjinoor
• Cherry Pie Ricolcol
• Chevy Chase Naniong
• Carl Jordan Perez
• Abdulhafez Hadji Basher
• Jeffrey Dale Ignacio
• Juan Carlo Gomez
• Clint John Simene
• Jhayson Albelda
• Asliyah Maruhom
• Jan Christian De Villa
• Jessica Anne Salvador
• Jennifer Timbreza
• Robern Michael Sarmiento
• Maria Victoria Jogno
• Catherine Mendoza
• Lorenz Arlei Bontia
• Paul Borja
• Hamza Pacasum
• Manuel Sarmiento
• Fidel Mendoza
• Dimple Mahyumi Mallari

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who initiated a Senate probe into the speedy entry of Chinese nationals—mostly working at the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO), said BI officials and personnel involved in the scheme may have amassed up to P40 billion in bribes.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier assured that it will continue to investigate the possible involvement of BI officials and personnel in the airport bribery controversy.

Meanwhile, the NBI said that it intends to include in its next complaint before the Ombudsman the “bosses” of the money-making racket.