Trillanes: Aguirre aware of Jack Lam’s operations
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II knew about the illegal operations of Jack Lam’s Fontana Leisure Park Hotel and Casino, having served as vice president and chief legal counsel of Clark Development Corp. (CDC) from 2013 to 2016, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said on Sunday.
Trillanes recalled that during last week’s Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the P50-million bribery scandal involving Lam and two Bureau of Immigration (BI) commissioners, Aguirre admitted that the Chinese gambling tycoon’s casino had been running for more than a decade. However, no raid was conducted on Fontana because the CDC thought it was legal since it was duly authorized by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza), he said.
“But since Aguirre was vice president and chief legal counsel of the CDC from March 2013 to June 2016, he surely knew about this operation,” Trillanes said in a statement.
“As CDC’s chief legal counsel, Aguirre should know and definitely knows that immigration laws were being violated by Jack Lam’s casino and that Ceza’s permits cannot be used in other free ports in the country. But still he allowed it to operate then. So, the 100-million-peso question now is, ‘Is the shakedown Aguirre’s way of saying he is the new boss in town?’” Trillanes said.
Sought for comment, Aguirre maintained he did not know Lam when he worked as vice president and CDC chief counsel, a post he held for only five months from March to August 2013, contrary to Trillanes’ claim.
“Tell him he’s a son of a bitch,” an irate Aguirre said over the phone. “He has done nothing but make up stories. He should check his facts first.”
“I never met Jack Lam during the time that I was at the CDC,” he said.
Trillanes earlier accused Aguirre of being in cahoots with now sacked BI commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles in extorting money from Lam, following the arrest in November last year of Lam’s 1,316 Chinese workers who were found illegally working in the casino.
“Aguirre has a lot of explaining to do,” Trillanes said.
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