June 14, 2022 In Ombudsman, sacks

Ombudsman sacks 45 BI personnel in ‘pastillas scam’

Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.

THE Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of 45 officials and employees of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) implicated in the “pastillas” scheme.

The Ombudsman found them liable for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

“In case the penalty of dismissal from the service can no longer be served due to respondent’s separation from public office, a fine equivalent to one-year salary shall be imposed. Nevertheless, all the accessory penalties of dismissal from the service shall apply,” a consolidated decision signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires on May 27, 2022 said.

 Bureau of Immigration

Bureau of Immigration

Ordered dismissed were Grifton Medina, Erwin Ortañez, Glenn “GC” Comia a.k.a. Glennford Comia, Benlado “Bien” Guevarra, Danieve “Den” Binsol aka “Denden,” Deon Carlo Albao, Arlan Edward Mendoza, Anthony “Al” Lopez, Cecille Jonathan Orozco, Francis Dennis Robles, Bradford Allen So, Vincent Bryan Allas, Rodolfo “Totoy” Magbuhos, ER German Robin, Gabriel Ernest “Gabe” Estacio, Ralph Ryan “RG” Garcia, Phol “Vexana 3rd” Villanueva, Abdul Fahad “Sharpedge Calaca” Calaca, Danilo Deudor, Mark “Fakehappy” Macababbad, Aurelio “Amboy” Lucero 3rd, George Bituin, Salahudin Hadjinoor, Cherrypie “Chepie” Ricolcol, Chevy Chase Naniong, Carl Jordan Perez, Abdulhafez “HB” Hadjibasher, Jeffrey Dale “Boss Nyepi” Ignacio, Clint John Simene, Asliyah Maruhom, Maria Victoria Jogno, Paul Erik “Liza” Borja aka Paul Borja, Hamza Pacasum, Manuel Sarmiento 3rd, Fidel Mendoza, Dimple Mahyumi Mallari, Gerrymyle “Gem” Franco, John Michael Angeles, Francis Meeka Flores, Sadruddin Usudan, John Kessler Cortez, Mohammad Sahary Lomondot, Jon Derrick Go, Aira Inoue and Rovan Rey Manlapas.

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The Office of the Ombudsman, meanwhile, dismissed the administrative charges filed against the other individuals.

On June 6, 2022, the Office of the Ombudsman filed a graft complaint before the Sandiganbayan against former BI deputy commissioner Marc Red Mariñas and other individuals in connection with the pastillas scheme.

The scheme, which was exposed during a Senate inquiry in January, allowed arriving foreigners to enter the country without going through the usual immigration procedure after travel agencies handed bribes to immigration agents wrapped like the local candy pastillas.

On Monday, acting spokesman and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said the Ombudsman indictment proves that “there are no sacred cows in the Duterte administration.”

“We welcome this decision as it shows the current government’s zero tolerance policy against corruption in the bureaucracy,” Andanar said.

He said that although erring public workers are punished, the problem persists and efforts to weed out corrupt people in government must not stop.

“Fighting corruption, however, remains a challenge,” Andanar noted.

“We are, therefore, pushing for automation of government systems to avoid face-to-face contact [and] at the same [time] eliminate redundant processes, for effective and efficient delivery of government services,” he said.