Duterte says to sack more Immigration officials

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 03 2020 08:40 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. File Photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he will remove more personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) as the agency grapples with corruption allegations.

Duterte said he will decide on the fate of Immigration personnel on Tuesday.

“Today, I have to complete the list of officials that I am going to fire, that I will dismiss from the [Bureau of Immigration],” the President said in a speech before newly-appointed government officials in Malacañang.

“I have to completely list off officials...from the Bureau of Immigration...Ayaw ko,” he added, hinting that among those he would sack are his fraternity brothers.

“Ayaw ko kasi ‘yung iba, kilala ko, kaya lang ang iba mga brad ko. ‘Yung iba were with me in ‘88 when I first ran for the mayorship...,” he said.

(I don’t want to because I know some of them, others were my fraternity brothers. They were with me in ’88 when I first ran for the mayorship...)

Duterte is a member of the Lex Talionis fraternity based at the San Beda College of Law.

The Immigration bureau has been hounded by corruption allegations after lawmakers uncovered the so-called “pastillas” bribery scheme.

Under the alleged modus, Chinese nationals who illegally work at Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) hubs pay Immigration personnel, and Chinese and Filipino travel agencies P10,000 in grease money rolled in bond paper—similar to the look of the local milk candy.

The President had earlier ordered the relief of all BI personnel allegedly involved in the scheme, but spared their chief, Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Duterte had vouched for Morente’s integrity, saying he “loves” the former Davao police chief.

Earlier in the day, the President’s spokesman said Duterte gave Morente a chance to fix the ongoing bribery in the bureau.

Morente was present at the Cabinet meeting on Monday night where top officials discussed the alleged bribery scheme.