PHILIPPINES JUSTICE SECRETARY ORDERS IMMIGRATION CHIEF TO HAND OVER PART OF BRIBE MONEY (Update)
Aguirre threatens to do a top-down cleansing of the Bureau of Immigration.
The repercussions from the alleged Jack Lam bribery of senior Bureau of Immigration officials continued to rumble on this week despite the sackings of BI associate commissioners Al C. Argosino and Michael B. Robles, the dismissal of BI intelligence head General Charles Calima and the seizure of Jack Lam assets.
In moves this week Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre tried to recover the P20 million missing from the original P50 million bribe.
On Wednesday he penned an official letter to Bureau of Immigration chief commissioner Jaime Morente demanding that he deliver the cash to the Department of Justice or the National Investigations Bureau within 24 hours.
Aguirre apparently believes that Morente has either taken possession of the money from Calima, or knows where it is, following an admission by Morente during a radio interview this week in which he claimed that Calima was not part of a shakedown, but had his authority to conduct a counter intelligence operation on the two associate commissioners, who were suspected of questionable conduct.
That begs the question of why, then, was Calima fired and where is the P18 million he allegedly kept for himself, whilst former police general and Lam facilitator Wally Sombero kept P2 million?
Sombero,Our readers may recall, has turned state's evidence and is in protective custody.
Morente said in the radio interview that Calima still has the cash, but when asked why Calima had been fired, he said: "That's out of my control. You will have to ask the DOJ."
Sombero and Calima apparently both feature in CCTV footage of the handover of the Lam bribe to Argosino and Robles.
In the meantime, Aguirre has said that he is considering a complete overhaul of the Bureau of Immigration following the scandal.