MANILA—The two ex-Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials linked to the PHP50 million bribery scandal on Monday insisted that they did not accept any bribe and that they are merely being “framed up.”
Ex-BI associate commissioner Michael Robles, in the resumption of the Senate hearing into the bribery scandal reiterated that he and colleague Al Argosino did not accept the bribe given by Macau-based gaming tycoon Jack Lam through his middleman retired police Senior Supt. Wally Sombero Jr. but only decided to keep it as evidence.
Robles made this statement after a Nov. 26, 2016 CCTV recording showed him and Argosino seemingly accepting two paper bags that contained the bribe money from Sombero in the City of Dreams was shown in the Senate.
In a statement, Robles explained that when he joined Argosino to meet Sombero, he asked his colleague what the two paper bags on the table were for. Argosino said that there was money in them.
He said Argosino told him of a plan to use the money as evidence against Lam.
However, he was shocked when Immigration Intelligence Chief, retired police Director Charles Calima, allegedly blackmailed him by saying that he had footage of their meeting with Sombero in the City of Dreams.
Calima was reportedly tipped by Sombero that there were CCTV recordings of the two ex-BI officials receiving the bribe.
Robles claimed that Calima was framing him up because he was not given a share.
He stressed that he and Argosino had no record of crimes done in the past.
A tearful Argosino, like Robles, insisted that he had never asked for money even once. He stressed that he even returned the evidence to authorities.
He pointed out that even in the previous administration, there were no cases filed against Lam.
He meanwhile appealed to the Senate to hear them out and not make it appear to the public as if they were already guilty.