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By Nancy Carvajal

Officials of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) tagged in the “pastillas” scheme have accused the colleagues who turned on them as part of a destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte—and told him about it.

BI immigration officer 2 Dale Ignacio, a whistleblower, said the so called “pastillas gang” wrote Duterte to deny the existence of syndicate extorting money from Chinese nationals who come into the country without proper documents.

The scam involves paying off BI officials with money rolled up like “pastillas” when Chinese nationals arrive at the airport.

Ignacio said the letter to Duterte was signed by Dimples Mallari, who is allegedly a member of the “pastillas gang.”

He said he was able to tell the President in person that Mallari’s allegations were false.

“I was asked to read a letter from a member of the Pastillas group accusing me and Chiong as pakawala ng dilawan to destabilize the administration. The letter was signed by Mallari and is in Tagalog,’’ Ignacio told Politiko in an ambush interview at the National Bureau of Investigation Monday (November 17).

“We assured President Duterte that Pastillas gang is real and not a plot to discredit his administration,” he added.

Ignacio said he told the President that he has supporting documents to prove the existence of the “pastillas gang” and these have been submitted by the NBI.

He said the meeting with the President took place before he met with the BI officers tagged in the scam in Malacanang last week. They were joined by Senator Bong Go, NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor and NBI- Special Action Unit Chief Emeterio Dongallo.

Ignacio said Distor assured the President during the meeting that the evidence against the supposed gang members were solid.

Around 86 former and current Immigration officials and personnel are facing graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the scam.

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