Pacquiao: Sombero told me he is key to P50M bribery scandal
Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao said former police official Wenceslao “Wally” Sombero Jr. had told him he was the “key” to the controversial bribery scandal hounding the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Pacquiao said he was in touch with Sombero while the latter was in Canada. Sombero came back Tuesday morning amid threats of arrest and detention by the Senate blue ribbon committee investigating the reported P50-million bribery scandal allegedly involving some immigration officials.
“Si Wally nagtext sya sa akin. Nagpapatulong sya na bumalik dito at hindi sya gagalawin o walang mangyayari sa kanya….Sabi ko umuwi ka dito wala namang gagalaw sayo,” the senator told reporters.
During their brief conversation, Pacquiao said Sombero claimed to know more about the controversy, which has not been heard in the past three hearings of the committee. The hearing will resume on Thursday.
“Marami daw syang alam. Sabi nya (Sombero), siya ang susi para malinawagan ang lahat,” the senator said.
Pacquiao said Sombero, in particular, mentioned former BI Associate Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles as the ones who received money from him.
Argosino and Robles have admitted receiving money from Sombero but said they would use it as evidence against gambling tycoon Jack Lam. It was Sombero who allegedly handed P50 million to the two former officials supposedly in exchange for the release of undocumented Chinese workers at Lam’s casino hotel in Pampanga.
“Sinabi nya yung dalawa, si Argosino at si Robles ang tumanggap ng pera,” Pacquiao said.
The senator said Sombero cleared other personalities being tagged in the controversy, including Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, former immigration intelligence chief Charles Calima and columnist Ramon Tulfo.
Pacquiao said he was in touch with Sombero while the latter was in Canada.The former police official came back Tuesday following threats of arrest by the committee for repeated failure to attend the probe.
Pacquiao said he came to know Sombero and became friends with him while he was still a gambler.
“The old Manny Pacquiao na nagsusugal pa, nagsasabong pa. Dati kasi ganun ako, ganun ang ginagawa ko,” he said.
The senator also recalled having met Lam once while attending an event in Pampanga. RAM/rga
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