Forty Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel implicated in the “Pastillas” money-making racket were confronted by President Duterte Monday night, Nov. 9, and himself handed each of them peso bills that were wrapped to look like the popular Filipino sweet.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the 40 BI personnel were summoned by the President himself at Malacanang.
Guevarra noted that all of them were “implicated in the ‘pastillas’ scheme and subsequently suspended by the OMB (Office of the Ombudsman).”
“The President apparently intended to give them a dressing down,” said Guevarra who was present during the meeting.
“During the short meeting, he distributed pastillas to the BI personnel,” recounted the secretary.
He learned from the President that “money had been rolled inside each pastillas.”
“He wanted them to eat the pastillas, but did not insist ‘out of deference to the secretary of justice who was also present,” said Guevarra.
“He said, either you eat it or give it to the first beggar you see,” he recalled.
Guevarra said the President also told the 40 BI personnel that “the cases had been filed and that they simply had to face them.”
“No one among the BI personnel dared to utter a word,” Guevarra noted.
Aside from Guevarra, also present during the meeting were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Officer-In-Charge Director Eric Distor.
Under the “pastillas” scheme, money wrapped in white paper resembling pastillas were handed to BI personnel at the airport in exchange for facilitating the entry of foreigners, particularly Chinese nationals.
So far, the NBI has already filed two sets of complaints before the OMB concerning the “pastillas” racket.