'Stop lying!' Gordon yells at BI exec linked to Lam cash

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2017 02:55 PM

MANILA - Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday gave a fierce tongue-lashing to sacked Immigration deputy commissioner Micheal Robles for supposedly "lying" about his role in the alleged extortion of gambling tycoon Jack Lam. 

Robles and Al Argosino, another sacked Immigration official, are accused of getting P50 million from Lam aide Wally Sombero in exchange for the release of over 1,300 undocumented workers arrested in his online casino. 

The two have claimed that they accepted the money as part of an investigation against Lam. 

But during Tuesday's hearing, former intelligence chief Charles Calima alleged that Argosino and Robles tried but failed to extort an additional P50 million from Lam's camp during another meeting with Sombero on November 30. 

Gordon noted that minutes before Calima made his accusation, Robles himself confirmed that he and Argosino met with Sombero at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on this date. 

Robles said he flitted in and out of the meeting to smoke, leaving Argosino and Sombero alone at times. 

Despite his frequent exits from the meeting, Robles insisted that he and Argosino did not demand more money from Lam's aide. 

Gordon then shot back, 'Paano mo nalaman, lumalabas ka nga kamo?" (How could you know you know when you yourself said there were times you left the meeting?)

The senator added that Robles himself said he was "reluctant" to attend the meeting and only did so because of Argosino's prodding. 

"Palagi kang reluctant, 'pag andoon ka lumalabas ka. Para kang junior brad. Nagsunod-sunuran ka lang," he said. "Ayaw mo naman tong mangyari di 'ba, sumusunod ka lang sa kanya?" 

Robles replied "If that would be the impression, Your Chair," before adding that he accompanied Argosino "in courtesy to his request." 

Visibly irked, Gordon shouted, "Stop lying!" 

The lawmaker said Robles could not have known about the alleged second demand for money because he was Argosino's "reluctant partner." 

And if he was reluctant to help Argosino, Robles should have known that something was amiss in the whole incident, Gordon added. 

"You really don't want to be involved, which to you, something was going on... Alam mong may nangyayari, you didn't do anything about it," Gordon said. 

He said Robles himself could have arrested Argosino over suspicions of irregularities, especially after the latter deferred informing Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre about their transactions with Sombero. 

Watch a live streaming of the hearing here