NBI files corruption raps vs 86 Immigration officials over 'pastillas scam'

Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 05 2020 06:01 PM

NBI files corruption raps vs 86 Immigration officials over 'pastillas scam' 1
An immigration worker takes break with a cool smoothie to beat the summer heat at Terminal 1, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Pasay City, April 13, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — A unit of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed Thursday corruption complaints against 86 Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials allegedly linked to the "pastillas" scheme. 

NBI Special Action Unit chief Jun Dongallo told ABS-CBN News they initially intended to file raps against 40 officials, but the list grew longer following the exposé of whistleblowers Dale Ignacio, who corroborated the earlier allegations of another witness Allison Chiong.

Ignacio and Chiong are former BI officials. 

In filing the complaints against the 86 at the Office of the Ombudsman, the NBI also asked that the respondents be placed under preventive suspension to prevent influencing the investigation.

Last September, criminal charges were filed against 19 personnel of the BI allegedly involved in the same scheme.

On October 27, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended 44 BI employees tagged as well in the bribery scam.

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 "pastillas" delicacy. 

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