Duterte orders Jack Lam assets seized
DAVAO CITY—President Duterte said on Saturday he has ordered the sequestration of the assets of Jack Lam to recover the alleged unpaid taxes of the Macau gambling tycoon.
Speaking to reporters after he arrived from state visits to Singapore and Cambodia, Mr. Duterte said that according to Internal Revenue Commissioner Cesar Dulay, “we have been cheated on for so long” by Lam.
Mr. Duterte said that since “we have not been able to determine how much we lost… I am sequestering, ordering the sequestering of his properties and maybe I can get as much as I want.”
Lam allegedly operated an online gaming facility at Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark, Pampanga, where 1,316 illegal Chinese workers were arrested last month.
“You know they were playing here. [For bets collected here], they pay taxes, but for the [bets placed] outside of the Philippines, that is something else,” Mr. Duterte said.
“So, he was enjoying paying one percent [in tax]? You’re lucky while the others are paying 10 percent.” the President said.
Mr. Duterte said Lam fled the Philippines three days before he had ordered Lam’s arrest.
He admitted that he got “pissed off” with Lam because the gambling tycoon bragged about bribing people in the government, “as if everybody is [in his] pocket.”
“So I called the [National Bureau of Investigation] and I said, ‘Arrest him because he was into corruption. Arrest him and detain him in the most stinky prison,’” he said.
But, the NBI informed the President that Lam could not be arrested because no case had been filed against him.
He said he told the NBI, “Never mind. We will find a case [to file].”
Duterte also warned corrupt officials and businessmen, saying he was serious in giving Filipinos “a respite from corruption.”
“If you are into corruption and giving money, I will not wait for a case to be filed,” he said. “Do not corrupt people. If you are into corruption, go out of business for a while. Anyway, I will be here for six years only.”
He urged businessmen who had been victims of extortion to help him cleanse the bureaucracy.
“If you have proof that you are bribing anybody or if anyone in government is asking money from you, tell me,” he said.
Regarding the alleged extortion of money from Lam, Duterte said he ordered the dismissal of associate immigration commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, his law school fraternity brothers, along with acting immigration intelligence chief Charles Calima.
He absolved Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente of any involvement in the extortion and said there was “not one in a million” chance that the sacked immigration officials would be reinstated. —ALLAN NAWAL
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