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Duterte eyes relief of more BI officials over âpastillasâ
Duterte did not identify the officials to be dismissed, but revealed that some of them are his fraternity brothers in Lex Talionis.
Presidential photo/Alfred Frias/File

Duterte eyes relief of more BI officials over ‘pastillas’

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials are on the way out as President Duterte is set to complete the list of individuals to be dismissed due to the “pastillas” bribery scheme.?

Duterte did not identify the officials to be dismissed, but revealed that some of them are his fraternity brothers in Lex Talionis.

“Today (March 3), I think I have to complete the list of officials that I mean to fire, to dismiss from the... Bureau of Immigration,” the President said during the oath-taking of new appointees yesterday in Malacañang.??

“I did not want it because I know some of them. Some of them are my (brothers), others have been with me in ‘88 when I first ran for the mayorship,” he added. 

Duterte, however, said he was ready to curb corruption in government even if it means disregarding relationships.?

Last month, Duterte relieved 19 officials and personnel of the immigration bureau implicated in the pastillas scheme but decided to retain BI Commissioner Jaime Morente pending the completion of a congressional probe. 

The BI has announced the exclusion of 242 foreign nationals suspected to be illegally working in the country.?

Morente on Monday said exclusion followed after the relief of all BI heads from their posts at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) due to the so-called pastillas scheme.?

“Seventy-nine were excluded at NAIA 1, 33 were excluded at NAIA 2 and 130 were excluded at NAIA 3. Some were Cambodians, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Myanmars, Malaysians and Chinese,” Morente further disclosed. These foreign nationals, according to the BI chief, were intercepted from Feb. 21 to 28.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra is not inclined to immediately believe the allegations that his immediate predecessor at the department Vitaliano Aguirre II was a protector in the pastillas scheme and said their action would be based solely on competent evidence.

The scheme allegedly facilitates the entry of Chinese travelers at the country’s airports. – With Rudy Santos, Evelyn Macairan

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