Sandigan orders ex-immigration officials accused of plunder detained

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2018 04:25 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2018 07:03 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 6th Division ordered the detention of former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles after the court found probable cause to try them for plunder in connection with the P50 million bribery scandal involving illegal Chinese workers in Pampanga.

Argosino and Robles were at the office of the Clerk of Court on Tuesday and were posting P60,000 bail each when the resolution on probable cause came out.

The bail is for the bailable cases of graft, direct bribery and Presidential Decree No. 46 which makes giving and receiving of gifts for public officials a punishable offense.

But aside from the bailable cases, Argosino and Robles, as well as their co-accused, retired policeman Wally Sombero, are facing non-bailable plunder charges for the P50 million bribe intended for the release of more than 1,300 Chinese nationals illegally working inside the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in 2016.

Argosino and Robles arrived at the Sandiganbayan before 9:00 a.m. to post bail but since they have pending motions and were waiting for instructions from the justices, they were inside the office of the Clerk of Court when the probable cause resolution and arrest warrant for plunder came out.

“That’s the reason kaya medyo na-hold sila dito, kasi dun sa omnibus motions, it would affect the issuance of the warrant and the determination of probable cause,” Milo-Ferrer said.

Ferrer said Argosino and Robles can withdraw the P60,000 bail they posted since they are already detained anyway.

The court, meantime, will hear on Wednesday the motion to quash filed by Robles and Sombero, who now have a standing arrest warrant for plunder and other charges.

Businessman Jack Lam, who supposedly paid the P50 million bribe, also has a standing warrant for PD 46 which is bailable for P10,000.