Heads to roll at BI over bribery scandal

Rodrigo Duterte

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he will be firing close allies at the Bureau of Immigration in the wake of bribery and corruption issues that surfaced in Senate hearings.

Duterte said he will fire fraternity brothers and people who have supported him since his mayoralty run in 1988.

“It grieves me to do it. It makes me sad,” Duterte said.

The President said he will finalize a list of people he will dismiss from the agency.

Duterte earlier ordered the relief of all Immigration staff and officials involved in the so-called “pastillas” bribery scheme, which supposedly allowed Chinese nationals easy entry into the country for a fee.

The Bureau of Immigration also reassigned some 800 personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport following revelations at the Senate. Nineteen Immigration officers are also facing administrative cases and may also face criminal charges after a fact-finding committee completes its report by the second week of March.

Despite scandals at the bureau, Duterte has vouched for Immigration chief Jaime Morente, a former police chief in his hometown of Davao City.