Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente slammed reports of alleged BI agents overcharging arriving ships at the Port Capinpin in Orion Bataan.
“We have monitored a social media post that reported an alleged corruption incident at the Bataan Port, wherein ships were said to be overcharged $600 for immigration boarding formalities,” said Morente. “I immediately ordered an investigation following the said post,” he added.
Bayani Agosto Ferrer, Alien Control Officer of BI Bataan, said an inter-agency committee conducted a probe to check the report’s veracity.
“When the documents were presented to us during the meeting, we were surprised to find out that it was signed by a certain Conrado Bustamante and a Armichael Policarpio,” said Ferrer. “We have no employee with those names,” he reported.
According to the records, the fake BI agents charged as much as twenty thousand pesos to an arriving vessel, supposedly payment for immigration inspection.
“They even had the audacity to give fake invoices, using the BI’s logo to be able to illegally charge these fees,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer also reported that the fake BI agents also falsified invoices of other government agencies.
Shipping agent falsifies documents, poses as BI agents in Bataan
Morente warned other agents not to attempt similar activities that he deems as a form of extortion. “We are studying possible legal action that we could take against these shipping agents that tarnish the name of the Bureau and commit these unscrupulous acts,” he stated.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires imposed Tuesday a 6-month preventive suspension to 44 BI agents and 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.”