‘Pastillas’ bribery scheme

February 22, 2020

VARIOUS quarters commended President Duterte’s sacking of officials and employees of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) allegedly involved in the so-called “pastillas” bribery scheme.

This, they think, showed the hard-hitting Chief Executive’s determination to rid government offices of “scalawags,” who make a mockery of the nation’s anti-graft and corruption crusade.

Not only that. Described by many as “timely,” the move also demonstrated Malacanang’s capacity to uphold public interest that should be encouraged among all state agencies.

BI officer Allison Chiong told a Senate committee hearing that the scheme allowed Chinese to illegally enter the country to work for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOS).

“I have personally witnessed various illegal transactions over the years involving the extortion of money in exchange for unimpeded passage through the Philippines whether leaving or entering our country,” said Chiong.

As an immigration officer, Chiong’s primary function is to examine the travel documents of departing and arriving passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said “the President considers this anomaly as a grave form of corruption, which cannot and will never be countenanced by the government.”

Likewise, Panelo, a lawyer, added: “As we have repeatedly stressed, there are no sacred cows in this administration” which, under the 1987 Constitution, ends at 12 noon on June 30, 2022.

We share the view of other well-meaning Filipinos that the government ought to hit hard at erring public servants, appointed and elected, before they pull us down the gutter.