Two dumb lawyers
Associate Immigration Commissioners Al Argosino and Mike Robles have not only brought shame upon themselves but on their college fraternity as well.
Lex Talionis, a fraternity at the San Beda College of Law which counts among its prominent members President Digong and Justice Secretary Vit Aguirre, is in the spotlight because of the duo.
Argosino and Robles were appointed immigration officials based on their affiliation, not on their talent or intelligence.
If they had just a teeny-weeny bit of intelligence, why would they accept a P50 million bribe at the second floor of the City of Dreams from Wally Sombero, a retired police colonel? The establishment has closed circuit television cameras all over.
Sombero acted on behalf of illegal online gaming operator Jack Lam whose casino was raided by the government agents for non-payment of taxes.
Now that Argosino and Robles are in hot water, they implicate others left and right, including this columnist, in their extortion caper.
Supposedly, I was given P5 million to keep mum on their criminal escapade.
If I had received P5 million in exchange for keeping my mouth shut, why would I still write about it in this column?
There’s honor even among thieves, right? Hahaha!
In fact, I pleaded with Sombero to give me the privilege to break the news.
I had earlier helped Sombero enter into the protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after he told me about a “very big story” he wanted to reveal.
I got very interested in the story because it is the first extortion case involving top officials under President Digong who has vowed to eliminate corruption in government.
What makes the story more intriguing is that Argosino and Robles are Mr. Duterte and Secretary Aguirre’s fraternity “brods.”
Aguirre was on the verge of tears, according to Sombero, as he listened to the blow-by-blow account of the extortion caper of Argosino and Robles.
Aguirre later said he felt “betrayed” by his fraternity brothers, whom he had recommended to the Bureau of Immigration’s top posts, for violating his trust.
Argosino and Robles turned over on Tuesday—the same day this column came out with a follow-up story on their caper—P30 million of what they extorted from Lam.
They said they gave the P20 million to Charles Calima, the immigration bureau’s chief of intelligence, who they claimed asked for his share of the booty.
It was Calima who supposedly told Argosino and Robles that he would hand me P5 million to keep me quiet.
Argosino and Robles filed charges of bribery against Sombero and Calima in the Parañaque Prosecutor’s Office.
They said they kept the money from the early morning of Nov. 27, the day they received it from Sombero, until Tuesday, Dec. 13, because they would present it as evidence in their probe of corruption.
Even a Grade 5 pupil would ask why it took Argosino and Robles that long—15 days—to come out with the “evidence” and file the case in court.
I said in a television interview that I was contemplating filing a libel case against Argosino and Robles.
On second thought, I am not going to dignify those nitwits by going down to their level.
A hard-hitting columnist should be able to take a hit. I can take it as well as dish it out.
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