Duterte warns more Immigration dismissals over ‘pastillas’ scheme

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President Rodrigo Duterte warned that more people from the Bureau of Immigration involved in the so-called "pastillas" bribery scheme will be removed from their post. (

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 26) — President Rodrigo Duterte warned that more people from the Bureau of Immigration involved in the so-called "pastillas" bribery scheme will be removed from their post.

"I have been insisting on the ouster of all who are connected (to the illegal scheme). I think we have terminated, but there [will] be more," he told reporters at Malacañang on Wednesday.

Duterte on February 20 ordered the relief of all immigration staff and officials in the scam that allowed Chinese nationals easy access into the country for a fee. The bureau sacked 19 employees in line with the order.

"I think mayroon atang napaalis na [we have removed some] but they should be replaced, all of them," said Duterte.

He said he asked the Civil Service Commission for a list of people who have good academic records to replace those dismissed.

As for Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the President said he will wait for Congress to conclude its investigation before deciding on his fate.

"I defer to Congress first before I make any decision," he said.

Last week, Duterte vouched for Morente, who was also a former police chief of Davao City, despite the bribery scandal in his agency.

Morente said due process will be followed for those involved in the scheme. He added that he was "very disappointed" over irregularities in the bureau.

An immigration official and the whistleblower of the scam said around 90 percent of the bureau were involved in the pastillas scandal.