Duterte sets terms for Jack Lam’s return
President Duterte on Thursday said he was open to the return of gambling tycoon Jack Lam to the Philippines if he pays his back taxes and agrees to a renegotiation of his contract with the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. that had him remitting only one percent of his revenue to the government.
Mr. Duterte said Lam has sent surrender feelers even as he raised concern about the fate of the 6,000 Filipinos who stand to lose their jobs if his Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino at Clark Freeport closes down.
Lam also promised to settle his obligations to the government.
Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Thursday said he informed the President that an emissary from Lam relayed the Macau-based businessman’s desire to surrender.
“If he’s agreeable to the renegotiation and apologizes for offering something—that’s bribery—it’s OK with me because he’s offered to come back, resume his business, pay his taxes, liability, whatever it is,” the President said.
Mr. Duterte earlier ordered the arrest of Lam for bribery and economic sabotage. No formal charges have been filed.
Lam had already left the country after Mr. Duterte ordered his arrest for allegedly bribing Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II for the release of about 1,000 Chinese nationals arrested by immigration enforces last Nov. 24 for operating an illegal gambing facility in Clark Freeport, Pampanga.
The bribe was relayed to Aguirre through a retired police official, Wally Sombero, who met with the secretary in Taguig City last Nov. 26.
Sombero and Lam’s lawyer Raymond Fortun have denied the allegations.
Sombero surfaced at the National Bureau of Investigation on Thursday. Wearing a cap and a mask to cover his face, he was questioned at the office of NBI director Dante Gierran until Thursday evening. He declined to talk to the media.
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