Wally Sombero back in PH, clears Aguirre
Ex-PNP Wally Sombero arrives at the NAIA on PR119 from Vancouver pic.twitter.com/AVakGsGjhQ
— Jeannette Andrade (@jiandradeINQ) February 14, 2017
Retired police officer Wenceslao “Wally” Sombero returned to the Philippines on Tuesday morning to face the Senate’s inquiry into the bribery allegations against immigration officials.
Speaking to reporters on his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), Sombero – tagged as Chinese casino mogul Jack Lam’s middleman – was quick to exonerate Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II from any involvement in the scandal.
Sombero arrived via Philippine Airlines flight PR 119 from Vancouver at around 9 a.m. and was fetched from the aircraft by immigration personnel from the Naia terminal 2 and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents.
He was escorted to the immigration office at the terminal for processing and was later brought out to go to the Senate.
Aguirre ‘not involved’
Asked if Aguirre was involved in any way with Lam or gambling operations in the country, Sombero said, “For the record, gusto ko sanang (I want) to put this on the record. I have no knowledge of any connection or links that the Secretary (Aguirre) is involved with this scandal.”
He told reporters that he understood why an immigration commissioner teared up at the Senate hearing. “Anybody would cry. Even I might cry, in truth. You’re at the Senate hot seat. Your entire family is there, watching. It’s sad,” he said.
“Mabait naman iyong dalawa (These two are good men),” he said, referring to deputy immigration commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, who allegedly received a P50-million bribe from Lam. “But we are just caught in this situation, we are under this kind of investigation. We have to stick to our own stories.”
In facing the Senate blue ribbon committee on Thursday, Sombero said that he will choose only to answer questions that will not incriminate him. “I will invoke my right against self-incrimination because there’s already a case in court.”
He maintained that he never intended to flee and that before he left the government’s protective custody on January 17, he had informed Aguirre.
“I didn’t need permission to leave. I just needed to inform him (Aguirre) that I was leaving. There is no need to answer a mere information,” Sombero said./rga
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