MORE than 80 immigration personnel involved in the airport bribery scam in Feb. 2020 are again reporting for duty as their six-month suspension has ended, but their cases are still pending in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, in a group message on Wednesday, said “the 6-month preventive suspension of BI (Bureau of Immigration) personnel allegedly involved in the so-called ‘pastillas’ scheme has already lapsed.”
“However, the preliminary investigation being conducted by the OMB (Ombudsman) is still going on; so is the administrative proceedings being conducted by the DoJ (Department of Justice),” he added.
Dana Krizia M. Sandoval, spokesperson of the DoJ-led bureau, said they are assigned in “back-end and non-sensitive positions,” until their cases are resolved.
Ms. Sandoval, in a separate group message on Wednesday, said 84 of the 86 BI personnel charged resumed work, one has retired, and one is the whistleblower.
Mr. Guevarra explained that under civil service rules, the DoJ and the Ombudsman may dismiss government employees from service for dishonesty and other major administrative offenses only “after giving the respondents their day in court.”
The personnel still have pending cases with the DoJ, Ombudsman, and the National Bureau of Investigation.
In Feb. 2020, Senator Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros-Baraquel exposed the scheme wherein Chinese citizens who want to work in the Philippines, particularly in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, and other foreigners who have been blacklisted in the country, gain speedy entry by paying off immigration officials. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago