MANILA – Bureau of Immigration (BI) chief Jaime Morente has recommended the preventive suspension of 18 personnel accused of extortion by 15 Koreans in a recent operation.
“Extortion is a violation of our oath of service. We cannot allow such instances to go unpunished. We have requested the DOJ (Department of Justice), which is our mother department, to issue the suspension order," said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente in a statement.
Morente said they acted on President Rodrigo Duterte’s order and recommended to suspend the operatives pending results of an investigation on the alleged extortion during a law enforcement operation last month in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The Koreans alleged that immigration officers asked for a P20 million payment so they won't be ordered deported. The operatives also allegedly seized their jewelry.
The Korean victims filed a complaint before the Office of the President and the DOJ against the 18 operatives.
Morente said the agents could face both administrative and criminal charges if found guilty.
"We have our Board of Discipline to recommend to the DOJ sanctions against these employees, if proven guilty. We have also requested the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to conduct a separate probe against them for filing of criminal charges," he said.
Morente reiterated that the agency is "serious in sweeping its ranks" and vows to get rid of corrupt and erring personnel.