By Neil Arwin Mercado, April 8 2019; Philippine Daily Inquirer
Image Credit to ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) imposed on Monday a 90-day suspension on 10 of its employees for allegedly extorting P9.2 million from several Korean nationals.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra issued the suspension order after reviewing the statements of the arrested Korean nationals who claimed that the employees forced them to pay them in exchange for their release on March 6, 2019.
“The Justice Secretary, after evaluating the sworn statements of the Korean nationals as well as the documentary evidence provided by the BI, found a prima facie case against said officers and employees for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,” the BI said in a statement.
The suspension order also requires the employees to submit a response within 72 hours from receipt of the formal charge issued against them.
Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete, who is also BI spokesperson, sent a text message to reporters saying: “[The employees] are suspended pending investigation. If they are found guilty for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the service, they may be terminated from employment, with loss of all benefits and prohibition from engagement in government.”
“Civil Service Commission (CSC) rules empower the Secretary to place them under preventive suspension while they are formally being investigated,” Perete added.
Aside from the 10 immigration employees, Perete said that there were eight other job-order contractors involved in the case.
The contractors, however, are not considered government employees. So they are not governed by CSC rules.
“The Office of the Secretary is now evaluating the proper course of action to take [against the contractors],” Perete said.