Duterte confronts immigration execs in ‘pastillas’ scam: Guevarra

President Rodrigo R. Duterte personally summoned the erring immigration officials and gave them a dressing down in Malacañang, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Monday.

Pastillas were placed on the chairs of the Immigration officials summoned by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the Malacañang Palace on November 9, 2020. ARCEL VALDERRAMA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Guevarra, in a text message to reporters, said more than 40 immigration personnel implicated in the so-called “pastillas” scheme suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman, faced the President on Monday night.

“The President apparently intended to give them a dressing down. During the short meeting, he distributed pastillas to the BI personnel. Money had been rolled inside each pastillas, according to the President,” Guevarra said

He reportedly wanted them to eat the pastillas, “but did not insist out of deference to the Secretary of Justice who was also present.”

“He (Duterte) said either you eat it or give it to the first beggar you see,” Guevarra said. “In the end, he stated that the cases had been filed and that they simply had to face them. No one among the BI personnel dared to utter a word.”

The Office of the Ombudsman on October 26 has ordered the six-month preventive suspension without pay of 44 BI personnel involved in the “pastillas” anomaly.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires ordered the suspension following a BI report that there were discrepancies between the statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN), and the salaries of some employees tagged in the airport bribery scheme.

The order imposed suspension on the 44 BI personnel, namely: Erwin Ortañez; Grifton Medina; Glenn Comia; Benlado Guevarra; Danieve Binsol; Deon Albao; Arlan Edward Mendoza; Anthony Lopez; Cecille Jonathan Orozco; Dennis Robles; Bradford Allen; 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; and Dimple Mahyumi Mallari.

The “pastillas” bribery scam refers to the operation wherein grease money was rolled up in paper, like the wrapper of milk candy. PNA.GOV.PH