Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said the DOJ is closely monitoring the Senate hearing that is looking into the sex and human trafficking and the boom of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators.
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Immigration to look into 'pastillas' scheme
(Philstar.com) - February 17, 2020 - 5:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration on Monday will investigate an alleged money-making scheme to facilitate the entry of Chinese nationals into the Philippines involving bureau officials and staff.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros bared the scheme, which she said was dubbed “pastillas”, at the bureau on Monday, during a hearing into rescues of sexual trafficking victims.

Hontiveros said that Chinese nationals pay P10,000 to Immigration officers to be given special treatment when entering the country.

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval, in a message to reporters, said Commissioner Jaime Morente was alarmed at Sen. Hontiveros' revelation during the hearing.

“He has ordered a full-blown investigation to identify those who are possibly part of the syndicate to file both administrative and criminal cases against them,” Sandoval added.

She also said that the BI and the Department of Justice will coordinate with Hontiveros’ office to get more details on the supposed “pastillas” scheme.

Hontiveros said that the information came from someone inside the bureau.

BI officials present during the hearing denied knowledge of the "pastillas" scheme, but the senatorsaid that they are either “complacent or negligent.”

DOJ to oversee Immigration probe

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete, for his part, said that the DOJ is closely monitoring the hearing at the Senate.

Perete, the undersecretary for immigration, assured the public that the Justice department will supervise the bureau’s investigation “to ensure that those responsible will be held to account.”

On July 15 last year, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra directed the National Bureau of Investigation to look in to reported that some POGOs resort to “escort services” of some BI employees to facilitate entry of their Chinese hires who hold tourist visas but would actually work for online gaming companies. — Kristine Joy Patag

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