Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday (Oct. 12) vowed the continued investigation of the “pastillas” scheme at the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Guevarra made this commitment following allegations made by Sen. Risa Hontiveros those at the BI involved in the racket may have collected around P40 billion in bribes since 2017.
The secretary admitted that law pay at the BI may have been “one reason why rackets and other acts of corruption have remained prevalent in that agency.”
“But low pay is not a valid reason to break the law, and those who smear the dignity of their public office will continue to be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” he said.
On the other hand, Guevarra said that the estimates on the amount of bribes possibly amassed “remain in the realm of mere possibilities.”
“However, a fair indicator of such magnitude, though not necessarily conclusive, is the lifestyle being led by people suspected of these wrongdoings, in relation to their regular compensation as government employees,” he said.