No plunder in P50-M bribery case, says Lam ‘bagman’
No plunder was committed in the P50-million bribery scandal involving two resigned Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials because each of them hypothetically received only half the money—thus not meeting the cash threshold for plunder, according to the alleged bagman of online gaming tycoon Jack Lam.
In a court motion made public on Friday, retired police officer Wenceslao Sombero Jr. asked the Sandiganbayan to junk the plunder charge against him as the Office of the Ombudsman had failed to establish the commission of the crime.
Sombero’s 18-page motion to quash invoked Supreme Court jurisprudence that absolved former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2016.
“Here, hypothetically admitting the facts, the information fails to establish the crime of plunder,” Sombero said.
In the Arroyo case, the Supreme Court acquitted her after ruling that a particular public officer “must be the one who amassed, acquired or accumulated ill-gotten wealth” totaling at least P50 million.
The high court determined that since Arroyo was only one of 10 people accused of amassing P366 million from funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, then “each of the 10 accused would account for the amount of only P36.6 million…of the alleged ill-gotten wealth.”
Sombero is facing one count each of plunder, bribery and graft for delivering money to former BI Assistant Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles allegedly at the behest of Lam.
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