MANILA, Philipppines — A Senate committee on Wednesday recommended the criminal prosecution of 27 current and former immigration personnel allegedly involved in the so-called “pastillas scam” which allowed the entry into the country of thousands of foreign, mostly Chinese, workers in exchange for bribes at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
“If some people think they have silenced the investigation into the pastillas scam, they are wrong. It is time for the government to carry out an overhaul of the Bureau of Immigration (BI),” said Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality.
The committee report said that it was not the “wealthy and the powerful who are put at risk” when the country’s borders are “made porous by the malfeasance of those charged with protecting them.”
“It is the already vulnerable who are made even more vulnerable—those who fall victim to human traffickers and are smuggled out to white slavery rings, those who lose their livelihoods because of the influx of foreign workers on spurious visa arrangements,” it said.
The pastillas scam was a clandestine operation that allowed the entry of mostly Chinese nationals, mainly workers for Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos), with hardly any scrutiny in exchange for bribes to corrupt immigration officers at Naia.
The scam was so named because the bribe money was usually rolled up like the popular Filipino milk-based candy.
READ MORE: https://aseanews.net/2022/01/27/free-asean-aseanews-todays-papers-headline-manila-senate-panel-seeks-raps-vs-27-in-pastillas-scam/
Today’s Papers: January 27, 2022
Today’s Paper: January 27, 2022