MANILA, Philippines—Two associate commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Al Argosino and Mike Robles, admitted receiving bribe money worth P48 million from gambling tycoon Jack Lam.
Argosino and Robles earlier denied the accusations of bribery but in a press conference in late Tuesday, the two commissioners showed the money they turned over to Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre worth P30 million. They received the money from Jack Lam last November 27 through retired police General Wally Sombrero. They said that the P2 million went to Sombrero and the remaining P18 million was received by Intelligence Chief Charles Calima.
The BI ranking officials will file corruption charges against Sombrero and Calima for receiving the money.
Violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Act will also be filed to Calima for the alleged audio recordings found in his laptop.
Sombrero gave the money to the commissioners to negotiate for the release of more than 1,300 undocumented workers caught in a casino in Pampanga because of its illegal online operations.
Argosino and Robles said they did not pursue to arrest Sombrero when they met at the City of Dreams because there were no signs of Jack Lam during that time. The two commissioners considered the money as future evidence against Jack Lam.
The commissioners denied keeping the money in their interest.
“We could have run away. We could have made our early retirement when the minimum wage was less than P10,000 a month. You could just imagine the amount of money. I could not have gotten this in my retirement from the government,” Argosino was quoted as saying in Abscbn.news.
The two told President Rodrigo Duterte that they were the first ones to file against Jack Lam.
“This P30 million is the living evidence as to why President Duterte must come out in the open to pursue corruption and never allow a business entity to thrive by paying off government officials,” Argosino was quoted as saying in an Inquirer.net report.
Lam’s interpreters, Norman Ng and Alexader Yu, were also included in the complaint.