NBI clears DOJ, Immigration over Wang Bo bribery try
The Department of Justice (DOJ) found no evidence of bribe money that went to the pockets of some solons, and even to that of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima herself, from Chinese fugitive Wang Bo.
In a letter to Congressman Oscar Rodriguez, chair of the House of Representatives good government and public accountability committee, De Lima quoted a portion of the initial report by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) dated July 13 flagged as confidential.
The NBI said it found no evidence that would prove that Bureau of Immigration (BI) associate commissioners Abdullah Mangotara and Gilberto Repizo received payoffs from Wang Bo to secure his release from detention as he faces a deportation order by the Chinese embassy for illegal online transnational gambling.
“The team did not find any direct or indirect pieces of evidence pointing to the pay offs between the party of Bo Wang and any official/employee of the Bureau of Immigration,” a portion of the report read.
The NBI also said there was no proof that Wang Bo also gave bribe money to the House of Representatives for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which seeks to implement a government peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The NBI said there was no evidence to point that Wang Bo paid bribe money to Mangotara and Repizo to be given to Liberal Party (LP) treasurer Alfonso Umali for the LP’s campaign warchest.
The NBI also cleared the involvement of the head of its mother unit DOJ in the bribery issue. Reporter Christine Herrera, who first broke the story, earlier told the committee the bribe money was intended for the senatorial campaign of Secretary De Lima.
The NBI is an attached agency of the DOJ.
“Neither did the team find any evidence to substantiate the allegations that Bo Wang financed the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the House of Representatives; nor was there any lead found to suggest the monetary contribution from the camp of Bo Wang favoring the Liberal Party or any political party for that matter,” the report said.
“Further, no iota of evidence was discovered that would give credence to the malicious allegation that Bo Wang’s camp contributed money for the senatorial campaign of the Honorable Secretary of Justice or any official for that matter,” it added.
However, the report said a few individuals who were interviewed off the record said money indeed exchanged hands in the Immigration bureau, but “the figures (ranging from low P5 million to a high P10 million) are all hearsay.”
The House probe stemmed from The Standard report, which alleged that P440 million were allocated to pay off the 292 lawmakers in the lower chamber for their vote for the BBL.
The report said the funds came from Wang Bo who allegedly paid the Bureau of Immigration P100 million to secure his release after the BI initially ordered his deportation, and another P400 million for the lawmakers.
Wang Bo allegedly embezzled $100 million and is suspected of opening casinos for transnational gambling.
The report alleged that bags of cash were unloaded at the rear entrance of the House of Representatives and taken to the office of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
The report said the CCTV footage of the incident that supposedly happened from Monday to Wednesday last week had been overwritten.
Speaker Belmonte had denied the accusations, saying he would resign from the House if the BBL payola would be proven true.
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