Ombudsman blocks Crame detention of 3 in bribery try
State prosecutors are urging the Sandiganbayan to reject the motions of three men suspected of complicity in the P50-million bribery scandal in the Bureau of Immigration to be detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center instead of a regular cell at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
The Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor opposed the request of resigned immigration Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, and that of retired police official Wenceslao Sombero Jr., the alleged bagman of online gaming tycoon Jack Lam, to be moved to Camp Crame.
But the prosecutors said the law clearly stated that detainees awaiting investigation or trial were supposed to be detained in a facility at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
“The security reason advanced by accused-movants to justify their transfer … appears to be speculative for want of evidence showing the existence of actual threat that will imperil their safety,” they said.
Argosino and Robles had jointly asked the court to be transferred to the Camp Crame facility, claiming that they might be incarcerated with prisoners or their relatives whom they had sent to prison when they were working as lawyers and prosecutors.
Sombero cited threats from people who might want to exact revenge on him. He also claimed to be suffering from heart disease and other health conditions.
Argosino and Robles are accused of demanding a P50-million payoff from Lam on Nov. 27, 2016, in exchange for the release of 1,316 Chinese nationals who were caught working for him without visas.
Sombero delivered the money to the two immigration officials, allegedly at the behest of Lam. —DJ YAP
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