DOJ chief mulls 100-man strike force vs criminal syndicates
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is planning to form a 100-member strike force against crime and corruption while he continues to clean up his department’s connections to criminal syndicates.
Aguirre said the creation of a composite team of agents from the Department of Justice, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Immigration was one of his options in addressing the corruption and penetration of criminal groups in the NBI and BI.
“I’m still thinking of how to form the team,” said Aguirre.
Aguirre cited the Nov. 24 raid on gaming tycoon Jack Lam’s unlicensed online gaming operation atthe Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark, Pampanga, where 1,316 illegal Chinese workers were arrested as an example of the need to have a composite team he could trust.
The NBI was excluded from the raiding team composed of BI and Special Action Force agents because Aguirre had suspicions that Lam had deep connections with the NBI who might alert him to the raid.
Since the raid, Aguirre has received reports of Lam’s attempts to bribe the BI to release the illegal Chinese workers for as much as P250,000 per head. Lam’s representative, former police Supt. Wally Sombero, had also approached Aguirre offering him to be Lam’s “ninong” or protector which the Justice Secretary quickly rejected.
After Aguirre exposed his bribe attempt, Sombero went to the NBI to report an extortion attempt by BI Associate Commissioners Al Argosino and Mike Robles, fraternity brothers of Aguirre and President Rodrigo Duterte, who in turn accused Lam and Sombero, along with BI intel officers retired Gen. Charles Calima and Col. Eduard Chan, of bribery.
Aguirre said he needed a composite team which he could fully trust considering that the NBI and BI have yet to be purged of corrupt officials and connections to the underworld.
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