BY JAMES DE JESUS
Ombudsman Samuel Martires has ordered the six-month preventive suspension of 44 officials of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) allegedly involved in the multi-billion peso “pastillas” controversy.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who was responsible for exposing the so-called pastillas corruption scheme last February 2020, claimed some P40 billion in bribes had been generated in three years by the racket which enriched certain BI employees.
The monies generated, Hontiveros alleged, were derived from “facilitation services” offered by the BI personnel for travellers seeking to enter or leave the country.
Hontiveros said that some 4 million persons were trafficked by the BI men since the pastillas scheme came into effect in 2017. She said that the bulk were Chinese nationals who had come over as tourists, but ended up working for POGOS or off-shore casinos catering to foreigners.
According to CNN Philippines, those suspended were identified as: 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.