MANILA - Sandiganbayan 4th Division Chairperson Alex Quiroz has inhibited himself from the plunder and graft cases against former Bureau of Immigration officials Al Argosino and Michael Robles.
The cases, which also involve Chinese businessman Jack Lam and retired police officer Wally Sombero, are due for re-raffle on Friday for reassignment to any of the remaining 6 divisions of the Sandiganbayan.
In a letter to Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang circulated around the anti-graft court's divisions, Quiroz said he is “an acquaintance of one of the accused” in the cases.
The Sandiganbayan en banc approved Quiroz's recusal.
According to the internal rules of the Sandiganbayan, a case is re-raffled if the chairperson of the division is the one asking for inhibition.
Argosino, Robles, Sombero and Lam are facing charges for the Chinese trader's supposed payment of a P50-million peso bribe to the then immigration officials in exchange for the release of Chinese nationals arrested for illegally working at the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Pampanga.
Sombero supposedly served as middleman in the deal.