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Sandiganbayan rejects plea to suspend former BI exec’s trial

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan denied the plea of former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioner Michael Robles to suspend his corruption trial and decided to continue with the proceeding.

The antigraft court said that despite his pending injunction at the Supreme Court, his trial in connection with the P50-million bribery scandal at the bureau should proceed.

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Citing Robles’ own petition to the Supreme Court, the antigraft court said that the accused’s petition noted that it will not interrupt the proceedings at the Sandiganbayan.

“The petition shall not interrupt the course of the principal case, unless a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction has been issued, enjoining the public respondent from further proceeding with the case,” the Sandiganbayan said. No such order from the high court has been issued.

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Robles filed a petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court on March 8, urging the high court to direct the Sandiganbayan to suspend the proceedings on the ground of “judicial courtesy.”

Robles faces charges of plunder, graft, direct bribery and violation of Presidential Decree No. 46 at the antigraft court, in relation to his and former BI Deputy Commissioner Al Argosino’s alleged involvement in a scam which saw them receive P50 million from retired policeman Wally Sombero, the alleged bagman of Chinese businessman Jack Lam.

The money was in exchange for the release of 1,316 Chinese workers working at Lam’s Pampanga casino in 2016.

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TAGS: Bureau of Immigration, corruption trial, Michael Robles, Sandiganbayan
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