PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission’s (PACC) recommendation for the preventive suspension of the 18 immigration agents who tried to squeeze millions of pesos from several Koreans.
PACC chairman Dante Jimenez said the 18 immigration agents dropped Duterte’s name and that of his former aide Bong Go to extort from the Korean citizens.
The agents are now under investigation.
The agents allegedly threatened their victims not to run to Malacañang for help on a false claim that the Palace itself was behind the act, said Greco Belgica, the PACC commissioner who investigated the incident.
“Tinakot sila na huwag magsumbong na sa Malacanang dahil Malacanang ang nagfu-fundraising. Wala hong katotohanan ‘yun. Kasinungalingan po ‘yun,” Belgica said.
“Galit na galit ang Pangulo,” he added.
The case stems from a March 6 operation in which the agents arrested 15 Korean nationals—legitimate businessmen with valid immigration papers, according to Belgica—and allegedly demanded money in exchange for their release.
The arrests were made on the basis of a general mission order for the arrest of foreigners without proper documents, Belgica said.
He said the Koreans were made to pay various amounts ranging from P280,000 to P1 million.
The allegations reached the president’s office, the commissioner said.
Last Wednesday, Duterte met with the suspended agents, only four of whom showed up, he said.
Belgica said the same group of agents extorted around P20 million from another group of Koreans in 2017.
He added that the supposed operation has also victimized Chinese and Japanese nationals.