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PASTILLAS MODUS | Chinese sweet talk local immigration officials with “pastillas” to allow them entry
February 17, 2020 , 02:11 PM

FEBRUARY 17, 2020 – An opposition senator on Monday exposed bribery of local immigration officials with cash, referred as “pastillas” to gain smooth entry at Manila’s gateways.

At the resumption of a congressional inquiry into illegal activities related to Chinese-controlled offshore gaming operation, Senator Risa Hontiveros uncovered highly irregular activities involving high-level immigration officials who allowed the seamless entry of Chinese nationals in exchange for a fee of 10,000 pesos.

Hontiveros said the the payment of “service fee” known as “pastillas” is centralized to get Chinese gaming workers get past immigration screening without any hitch.

Most of these workers are entering the country on tourist visas and without proper working permits, which are tedious to obtain as well as expensive.

“Pastillas” allegedly referred to the cash distributions within the agency, she said.

Hontiveros also played a video showing an immigration officer escorting Chinese nationals to their inner office, seemingly validating their identity against a list with a supervisor.

The video came from an informant who went to her office.

There were also screenshots of messages in Viber groups containing the names, flight details, and even photos of Chinese nationals.

“Huwag niyong lolokohin ang mamamayan, hindi po standard procedure ‘yan,” she said. “Bakit parang may VIP escort pa itong mga Chinese nationals na papasok sa ating bansa?

“Yung mga Pilipino nga hirap hirap na makapunta sa ibang bansa,” she said. “Pinapahirapan sa mga Immigration pero ang sa atin parang karinderyang bukas sa lahat.”

Hontiveros has estimated that around a billion pesos may have already been disbursed as kickbacks to corrupt officials.

About 1 million Chinese nationals may have entered the country using the “pastillas” scheme, she said.

“Sa P10,000 na ‘yan, dalawang libo ang nakararating sa ating airports, pinaghahatian sa level ng airport. Asan ang 8,000?” Hontiveros asked.

“Ang sabi ng informant, distributed na bago makarating sa airport” sa Chinese tour operator, ka-kontrata na local tour operator, at sa sindaikatong magdodownstream sa airport.”

 

 

Prior to this, Hontiveros held a press conference involving a 23-year-old Taiwanese national who escaped a prostitution den connected to the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

The victim has narrated how she was illegally recruited and how she was abused by her employers.

 

 

Senators had launched a probe on POGOs due to the influx of illegal foreign workers in the industry, particularly Chinese nationals, and its failure to pay 50 billion pesos in taxes.

Legislative measures have also been filed in Congress imposing new taxes on POGOs and income tax on workers. (Karen Macalalad/MM)

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