2 BI commissioners, agent ordered to explain P50M ‘extortion’ on Jack Lam
MANILA — Two associate commissioners and an intelligence official of the Bureau of Immigration have been ordered to respond to allegations that they extorted P50 million from a foreign gambling tycoon.
BI commissioner Jaime Morente has directed associate commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, and intelligence chief Charles Calima Jr. to submit written explanations in the next 24 hours.
The BI chief said his order was separate from the probe of the National Bureau of Investigation ordered by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
“We will support this and any other parallel investigation on the matter,” he said.
Morente gave the directive following the publication of the column of Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo last Saturday.
In his column, Tulfo, citing reliable sources, alleged that two BI associate commissioners extorted P50 million from the Macau-based online gambling tycoon Jack Lam.
Lam owned the illegal online gambling facility in Clark, Pampanga, which the BI raided last month.
During the operation, the BI arrested 1,316 Chinese nationals who were charged with overstaying and violating the conditions of their visa.
Tulfo alleged that the BI officials received the huge amount from ex-police official Wally Sombero, in exchange for the release of 600 out of the 1,316 Chinese nationals who didn’t have employment visas.
Sombero is now in the protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigation.
Earlier, Aguirre himself accused Lam of trying to bribe him to release the Chinese nationals, who are now undergoing deportation proceedings before the BI.
Morente maintained that they have been “consistent in adhering to the guidance of President Duterte to upgrade the level of service to all clients and weed out corruption in the bureaucracy.”
“We have taken pains to address all irregularities with impartiality and will continue to take decisive action as needed,” the BI chief assured. SFM
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