Senate threatens contempt vs Sombero for absences in bribery probe
Senators on Thursday threatened to cite Wally Sombero for contempt for his repeated failure to attend the Senate probe into the alleged P50-million bribery scandal at the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
During the third hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee, Sombero’s lawyer, Ted Contacto, read his client’s letter, saying that he was refused by airport authorities to fly to the Philippines from Vancouver because of health problems.
Senator Richard Gordon questioned why Sombero, who allegedly handed P50 million to former BI Associate Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, was able to grant media interviews left and right but could not attend the hearing.
Gordon, chairman of the committee, said he was willing to suspend the probe until Sombero showed up.
“And if he doesn’t show up, then we just have to issue a contempt case against him,” the senator said.
Gordon then questioned Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and BI Commissioner Jaime Morente why Sombero was able to leave the country despite the lookout bulletin issued against him.
“Apparently he was able to leave despite that lookout bulletin,” Aguirre said, responding to Gordon’s queries.
Morente said he informed the committee last hearing that Sombero left the country last January 17.
“Kung nakalusot yan, pinalusot! Papano nyo nalamang nakalusot? Kelan nyo nalamang nakalusot?” an angry Gordon asked.
(If he was able to escape, it was because he was allowed to! How did you know he was able to flee? When did you know he had fled?)
“Ang excuse kasi noong mga immigration officers (The immigration officers’ excuse was that), the lookout bulletin specified the name Wally Sombero but when he presented his passport it was Wenceslao Dombero. But that’s beside the fact, we’re still investigating it your honor,” Morente said.
Senator Leila de Lima then moved that Sombero be cited for contempt “for his repeated failure to appear before this hearing.”
Gordon said he was inclined to approve De Lima’s motion but decided to defer action for humanitarian reasons. CDG/rga
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