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Immigration execs cited in contempt over absences during Senate hearing on 'pastillas' scheme
Senator Risa Hontiveros says the government must go after the masterminds behind the "festering pool of corruption" within the Bureau of Immigration responsible for the so-called "pastillas scam," during the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality hearing, Tuesday, October 6, 2020. D
Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo

Immigration execs cited in contempt over absences during Senate hearing on 'pastillas' scheme

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - October 6, 2020 - 1:29pm

MANILA, Philippines — A senate panel on Tuesday cited in contempt former and current Bureau of Immigration officials as the lawmakers resumed its legislative hearing into the “pastillas” scheme in the government agency.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, moved to cite in contempt for their “unjustified absences.”

“With the concurrence of Sen. Imee [Marcos], the chair rules to cite in contempt” the following resource persons:

  • Former BI Port Division and Operations chief Marc Red Mariñas
  • Special Operations and Communications Unit chief Maynard Mariñas
  • Totoy Magbuhos
  • Travel Control Enforcement Unit (TCEU) chef in Terminal 3 Den Binsol

Marcos is one of the members of the Senate panel.

The Senate panel resumed its hearing into the “pastillas” racket at BI where its officers receive a fee from Chinese nationals in exchange of their seamless entry into the Philippines.

In Tuesday’s hearing, Hontiveros presented a new witness, Immigration Officer Jeffrey Dale Ignacio who tagged the younger Mariñas as the “ringleader” of the money-making scheme in the bureau.

Ignacio also said that Mariñas’ lawyers, Joel and Jeff Ferrer, called those who were summoned by the National Bureau of Investigation and told them to not comply with the subpoena.

He said he was later surprised to learn that Mariñas and other BI officers who were not named as respondent in the NBI complaint gave statement to the bureau.

“Parang ginawa kaming shield, para kami yung makasuhan at sila yung hindi makasuhan,” Ignacio said.

(It is like they used us as a shield so we would be thie ones charged and they would be cleared.)

Ferrer, who was present at the NBI for the hearing, however denied that he ever met or talked to Ignacio.

The Senate inquiry is ongoing as of this story’s posting.

BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION IMEE MARCOS NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION RISA HONTIVEROS
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