PHILIPPINES IMMIGRATION EXECS TO ANSWER BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS (Update)
Bureau of Immigration's two associate commissioners asked to explain alleged P50 million in bribes from online casino operator Jack Lam.
Unidentified sources have told the Philippines newspaper The Inquirer that two senior managers in the Immigration Bureau have been asked to explain allegations from an undisclosed source that they received P50 million in bribes for the unauthorized release of 600 of the 1,316 Chinese nationals arrested recently on immigration offenses in the Clark Freeport .
The allegation is that Jack Lam, the Macau-based Chinese businessman with online gambling interests in the Philippines which were disrupted in the Immigration Bureau raids ten days ago, was the man behind the bribes, which were allegedly distributed by former police officer and Lam "facilitator" Wally Sombero.
Our readers will recall that Sombero, who is reportedly now in "protective custody," is also involved in allegations by the Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that he and Pagcor chief Andrea Domingo were the targets of bribery attempts by Lam.
The Bureau has two associate commissioners, The Inquirer reports, identifying them as Michael Robles and Al Argosino, who were both appointed in August this year. They have reportedly been asked by Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to answer the allegations that they received bribes.
Asked for comment, BI spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang said the agency will not make any formal statement on the issue yet, but confirmed that two officials had been given an opportunity to clarify their position.
Over the weekend Aguirre announced that he had tasked the National Investigation Bureau with a thorough enquiry into all aspects of accusations that Lam has been offering bribes to Philippines officials, including himself and the head of Pagcor.