Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II dismissed as baseless on Tuesday (September 22) Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo’s allegations linking him to an alleged syndicate within the Bureau of Immigration (BI) that’s behind the so called “pastillas” scheme.
During the Senate hearing on the racket, Aguirre scoffed at Tulfo’s claim that a helicopter flew to his hometown in Mulanay, Quezon, with payoffs from the supposed BI syndicate.
“If am receiving payola, why would I let my share be flown to Mulanay, Quezon? I would opt for more discreet way of getting purportedly loot,” Aguirre said.
The former Justice Secretary also defended the visa upon arrival scheme implemented during his term, which critics claim paved the way for bribery to flourish inside BI. The “pastillas” scheme involves payoffs to immigration personnel by Chinese tourists arriving in the country so they can work at Philippine offshore gaming operators even without proper papers.
Aguirre said the visa upon arrival scheme’s intention was good, and no less than Tulfo’s sister, sacked Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, supported it.
The former Cabinet official said Tulfo was allegedly motivated to link him to the supposed syndicate inside BI because he allegedly did not grant some favors to the columnist when he was head of the Department of Justice.