MANILA - The chairman of the Senate body looking into the scandal that hit the Bureau of Immigration believes it is a case of extortion, and not bribery.
Senator Richard Gordon's Blue Ribbon Committee looked into the allegations that former Immigration Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles got P50 million from Macau-based gaming tycoon Jack Lam in exchange for the release of around 600 Chinese employees working in his online gaming facility at the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark, Pampanga.
"It's extortion. Grabe ang extortion...P50 million ang binigay. Nung wala nang makuha, napilitan nang magbigay ng bond, bail," said Gordon.
Gordon terminated the committee's probe into the issue on Thursday after the fifth hearing.
He said Lam has no liability in the scandal.
"Wala akong nakikitang liability ni Jack Lam because Jack Lam operates the casino. Kumikita siya doon sa renter nung mga taga-CEZA," he said.
"Ang liability na lumalabas ni Jack Lam, iyung sinasabi ko nga kanina, gusto ko sanang pagbayarin ng mas mataas na renta sa casino niya at gustong iklian yung terms na binigay ko sa kontrata," he added. - with a report by Johnson Manabat, DZMM