Sombero asks SC to halt Sandigan proceedings on BI bribery scandal cases

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2019 01:57 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2019 01:58 PM

Former police official Wenceslao "Wally" Sombero is seen during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing held at the Senate in Pasay City, Metro Manila on 16 February 2017. Joseph Vidal, PRIB

MANILA - Retired police official Wally Sombero has asked the Supreme Court to stop the proceedings at the Sandiganbayan 6th Division where he is facing plunder, graft, direct bribery and giving and receiving gifts cases in connection with the P50 million bribery scandal that rocked the Bureau of Immigration in 2016.

Sombero is a co-accused of former BI deputy commissioners 
Al Argosino and Michael Robles in the cases involving the release of more than 1,000 Chinese workers illegally working in Pampanga after a supposed P50 million bribe from Chinese businessman Jack Lam.

In the urgent motion to resolve application for Temporary Restraining Order filed before the Supreme Court on January 7, 2019, Sombero’s counsel Laurence Hector Arroyo said that unless immediately restrained, the Sandiganbayan will proceed trial “on the merits harboring egregious misconceptions” about the cases.

A copy of the urgent motion was sent by Arroyo to the Sandiganbayan on January 15, 2019.

Among the issues pointed out by Arroyo are the supposed participation of Sombero in the alleged scheme, meaning of “main plunderer”, meaning of “series” of acts, who bears the burden of proving that the P1,000 bills rejected by Landank are genuine, and the Supreme Court ruling on Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan.

“Unless restrained, the Sandiganbayan can bery well compound its patently erroneous decision to deny petitioner bail with an equally patently erroneous decision to convict petitioner of plunder,” Arroyo said.

Sombero, along with Argosino and Robles, is currently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

“Everyday that passes without a restraining order being issued adds to the urgency of petitioner’s application for a restraining order,” Arroyo said.