BI chief has 24 hours to turn over P20-M bribe from Jack Lam
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II gave Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente 24 hours to turn over the P20 million of the P50-million bribe money from online gambling tycoon Jack Lam.
Aguirre gave the order to Morente after he admitted that he gave former Intelligence Chief Charles Calima the go-signal to conduct the counter-intelligence operations against former Immigration Associate Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles.
“In view of your express admission that you authorized Gen. Charles T. Calima, the former Acting Intelligence Chief of BI, to conduct a counter-intelligence operation in connection of the alleged P50-million extortion purportedly committed by former Commissioners Al C. Argosino and Michael B. Robles, and in order to preserve the
evidence of such extortion activity, you are hereby directed to turn over within 24 hours, the remaining P20 million to this department for safekeeping or to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the agency conducting the investigation on the alleged extortion incident.”
“It is understood that you are authorized to take any and all appropriate steps to secure and safely turn over the aforesaid P20 million as directed,” the memorandum read.
Aguirre also ordered Morente to submit all reports submitted by Calima regarding the details of the counter-intelligence operation prior to his termination from the service.
Calima was terminated by Aguirre after both Argosino and Robles said he received P18 million of the P50 million bribe money while the P2 million allegedly went to Wally Sombero who claims to represent Lam.
Sombero claims the P50 million was for the release of 600 of the 1,316 Chinese nationals illegally working at Lam’s Fontana Leisure Park and Casino.
But Argosino and Robles said the money was to be used as evidence that Lam is involved in corruption.
Argosino and Robles already surrendered the P30 million to the DOJ. They also filed a criminal case against Lam, Sombero, Calima and Lam’s interpreters.
Aguirre ordered Morente to also submit a written report of compliance not later than 5:00 pm on Dec. 22.
“It is a proof of corruption. It should be surrendered immediately for accounting and safekeeping. The longer it remains unsurrendered, the longer the doubt persist,” Aguirre said. CDG
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