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Discipline board weeds out errant BI staff

Alvin Murcia

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To weed out corrupt personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), the Department of Justice has activated its Board of Discipline.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the BI’s cleansing is now a paramount consideration due to the recent controversy that engulfed the agency.

“In view of the filing by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) of cases before the Ombudsman against certain BI personnel in connection with the so-called ‘pastillas’ scheme, these personnel have been relieved of their duties at the airports and were recalled to their mother units,” Guevarra said.

Likewise, he said, “At the same time, I have reconstituted the Board of Discipline to commence administrative proceedings against them and other BI personnel suspected of corruption, misconduct and other acts inimical to the service.”

Earlier, the NBI filed criminal charges before the Ombudsman against 19 BI officers and personnel for their alleged involvement in the “pastillas” money-making scheme while assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Those charged were Grifton San Pedro Medina, Deon Carlo Albao, Fidel Mendoza, Abdulhafez dela Tonga Handjibasher, Gabriel Ernest Estacio, Ralph Garcia, Phol Villanueva, Abdul Calaca, Danilo Deudor, Mark Macababad, Aurelio Lucero III, George Bituin, Salahudin Hadjinoor, Chevy Naniong, Jeffrey Ignacio, Hamza Pacasum, Manuel Sarmiento III, Cherry Pie Ricolcol and German Robin.

Liya Wu, a private individual and owner of Empire International Travel and Tours, was also recommended to be charged for the crime of corruption of public officials.

One of the suspects, Ignacio, was likewise recommended to be additionally charged for qualified trafficking in persons under Republic Act 9208 for recruiting a Taiwanese woman to work in the Philippines and facilitate her easy entry into the country, despite the fact that she was only a holder of a tourist visa.

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