Ombudsman suspends 44 Immigration employees tagged in 'pastillas scheme'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2020 05:24 PM | Updated as of Oct 27 2020 09:40 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) — Ombudsman Samuel Martires ordered Tuesday the 6-month preventive suspension of 44 Bureau of Immigration (BI) employees allegedly involved in the "pastillas scheme."

Under the scheme, Chinese nationals could enter the Philippines as tourists and later work for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) hubs. 

They allegedly pay immigration personnel and Chinese and Filipino travel agencies P10,000 in grease money rolled in bond paper, like the Filipino delicacy. 

Last September, the National Bureau of Investigation said it filed criminal charges against 19 personnel of the BI allegedly involved in the scheme.

Aside from the BI personnel, Martires also suspended for the same period 5 Department of Health (DOH) officials over the delayed release of benefits to health workers. —Reports from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

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Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story reported that Martires ordered the suspension of PhilHealth employees instead of DOH. We regret the error.