BI: Discrepancies found in SALNs of personnel tied to 'pastillas' scheme, including division chief

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The Bureau of Immigration said Friday it found discrepancies between the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth and the salaries of some personnel, as high as a division chief, who were linked to the so-called "pastillas" bribery scheme. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — The Bureau of Immigration said Friday it found discrepancies between the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth and the salaries of some personnel, as high as a division chief, who were linked to the so-called "pastillas" bribery scheme.

"Although I cannot give the particulars... but we saw some discrepancies in some of the statements of assets and liabilities of a few of those involved in the alleged pastillas scheme," BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval told CNN Philippines' News Night. "We saw something maybe I can say worth looking into by the [National Bureau of Investigation]."

However, she stressed that the Department of Justice would still have to determine if these were indeed discrepancies, since the bureau just submitted its findings to the department for comment.

The spokesperson did not say who these personnel were but mentioned that they checked the SALNs of those tagged in the article of The Manila Times columnist Raffy Tulfo and those mentioned in the Senate panel hearing on the pastillas issue.

A source from the agency also told CNN Philippines that the division chief being referred to was former immigration official Red Mariñas, who was also tagged as the mastermind of the scheme. Marinas earlier denied he was behind the illegal operation.

The BI also said that its internal investigation expanded to probe about "a little less than a hundred" personnel.

The pastillas scheme, which was first brought to light in February, allegedly allowed Chinese nationals to enter the country without background checks in exchange for grease money. It was dubbed pastillas since the cash was rolled in bond paper, like the milk candy.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is leading the Senate probe into the matter, estimated up to ₱40 billion were generated in bribes from the scheme.