Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed that President Rodrigo Duterte met with the over 40 suspended officials and personnel from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at Malacañang on Monday evening.
“During the short meeting, he distributed pastillas to the BI personnel,” Guevarra related. “Money had been rolled inside each pastillas, according to the President. He wanted them to eat the pastillas, but did not insist ‘out of deference to the Secretary of Justice who was also present.’ He said, either you eat it or give it to the first beggar you see.”
“In the end, he stated that the cases had been filed and that they simply had to face them,” Guevarra said. “No one among the BI personnel dared to utter a word. End of the meeting.”
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Senator Bong Go, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, and NBI Director Eric Distor also attended the meeting and witnessed the incident.
Last week, the NBI Special Action Unit (NBI – SAU) filed on Thursday the second batch of graft complaints involving 86 personnel of the Bureau of Immigration allegedly involved in the so-called pastillas scheme.
Duterte dares suspended BI employees to eat money wrapped in ‘pastillas’ – Guevarra
In their 27-page complaint filed before the Ombudsman, the NBI SAU named 8 high-ranking immigration officials as part of the pastillas group’s core. They also tagged Former Division Chief of Port Operations Division Marc Red Mariñas, Immigration Officer 2, as the multi-billion-peso scam’s mastermind.
The agency also tagged all Terminal Control and Enforcement Unit terminal heads in NAIA 1, 2, and 3 and the over-all head of BI Border Control and Intelligence Unit in the pastillas scheme.
The complaint said that aside from bribe money, some pastillas scheme members also received gifts and other benefits, including sexual favors from trafficked foreign women.
According to NBI SAU chief Atty. Jun Donggallo Jr., the criminal case against the 86 personalities, is air-tight, supported by revelations made and evidence provided by NBI’s second whistle-blower, Immigration Officer Dale Ignacio.
Of the 86 accused BI personnel, 67 are new personalities who now join the 19 Immigration officials in the first batch charged by NBI SAU over the pastillas scheme.