Senator Risa Hontiveros appealed to the Office of the Ombudsman to exempt Jeffrey Dale Ignacio, the immigration officer, and pastillas scheme whistle-blower, from suspension.
“Whistleblower Jeffrey Dale Ignacio, who turned state witness by testifying how BI officials institutionalized corruption in the agency, has been included in this suspension,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“I hope the Ombudsman can consider reversing this order against Dale as his testimony, which completed the picture of the corrupt system in the BI, has been invaluable in our Senate probe as well as the NBI’s own investigation,” she added.
Ignacio confessed earlier confessed as a member of the multi-billion-peso pastillas scheme. He stood as a witness in the Senate inquiry earlier this month. He corroborated whistle-blower Allison Chiong’s previous testimonies.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires imposed Tuesday a 6-month preventive suspension to 44 Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel allegedly involved in the pastillas scheme.
Under the scheme, Chinese nationals were allowed to enter the Philippines as tourists and later work for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) firms.
The Chinese allegedly pay immigration employees and Chinese and Filipino travel agencies P10,000 in grease money rolled in bond paper, like the popular Filipino dessert delicacy “pastillas.”