President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday expressed confidence that Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente has no involvement in the supposed pastillas scheme or the unlawful money making activity by some immigration personnel.
In a speech delivered in Davao City, Duterte said Morente continues to enjoy his trust, despite controversies hounding the BI.
Duterte issued the statement as he disclosed that he ordered the relief of BI officials and employees allegedly engaged in the pastillas scheme.
He said he loves Morente, a former Davao police chief, because of the latter's kindness.
Kahapon, I terminated all sa kay Morente. Apparently, si Morente, mahal ko iyan kasi chief of police iyan dito. Mabait iyan. Hindi niya kaya (Yesterday, I terminated all those who were under Morente's supervision. I love Morente because he was the chief of police here. He's kind. He cannot do such unlawful act), Duterte said.
Earlier Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced that all BI personnel involved in the collection of unauthorized fees among Chinese workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators have been relieved of their duties.
During a Palace press briefing, Panelo said Duterte viewed such illicit activity as a grave form of corruption.
The President said he already ordered the filing of charges against those involved in the pastillas scheme.
'Yung lahat (ng BI personnel) sa NAIA, sabi ko file an mo ng kaso. Tapos pinaalis ko, with the end view of dismissal (I said file a case against all BI personnel in NAIA who are linked to the scheme. I already relieved them, with the end view of dismissal), he said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday revealed that some erring BI personnel are receiving PHP10,000 as grease money from Chinese nationals who want to get special treatment upon their arrival in the Philippines.
The scheme was called pastillas because the money was allegedly concealed in rolled bond paper that is akin to the wrapper for the milk candy.
BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said about 18 Immigration personnel were relieved from their posts due to their supposed link to the bribery scheme.
Issues surrounding BI will be tackled in the next Cabinet meeting.
Duterte reiterated his warning to corrupt public officials to stop testing his patience, telling them that he would not hesitate to go after them.
He, however, assured that government workers who are performing well would get his support.
Do not tempt the gods. Just do your work, I will protect you, Duterte said.
Source: Philippines News Agency