Senate panel cites alleged 'pastillas' scheme boss, ex-Immigration officials in contempt

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2020 03:13 PM | Updated as of Oct 06 2020 03:14 PM

Senate panel cites alleged 'pastillas' scheme boss, ex-Immigration officials in contempt 1
Photo from The Official Gazette

MANILA— A Senate panel on Tuesday cited in contempt the alleged boss of the "pastillas" corruption scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and 3 other former Immigration officials who skipped a Senate investigation despite receiving a subpoena.

The former Bureau of Immigration officials who were cited in contempt were:

  • Former Bureau of Immigration Deputy Commissioner Marc Red Mariñas
  • Former Immigration Special Operations Communications Unit head Maynardo Mariñas
  • Immigration personnel Totoy Magbuhos
  • Immigration personnel Daniece Binsol

"Para sa mga implicated na akala niyo puwede niyong ismall-in ang investigation ng Committee na ito, nagkakamali kayo," Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality chair Risa Hontiveros said during the hearing.

"I request the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate to present you before the Committee next hearing," she said.

Under the Senate rules, those cited in contempt may be detained by the chamber's Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure that they will be present in an investigation in aid of legislation.

Lawyer Joel Ferrer earlier submitted a letter to the committee excusing the Mariñas father and son from appearing before the panel, but the reason for their absence was not disclosed during the hearing.

The 4 former Immigration officials were summoned to the Senate after whistleblowers Alex Chiong and Jeffrey Dale Ignacio tagged them as "bosses" of a bribery scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 

The scheme involves the alleged payment of grease money to immigration officials so that illegal Chinese workers could enter the country even without proper work visas.