MANILA - (2nd UPDATE) Retired policeman Wally Sombero on Wednesday surrendered at the national police headquarters in Camp Crame in connection with a P50-million bribery scandal involving the illegal Chinese workers of Macau-based gambling tycoon Jack Lam.
Sombero is facing an arrest warrant for plunder, along with former Immigration Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles.
Argosino and Robles in November 2016 allegedly accepted P50 million from Lam in exchange for the release of some 1,300 illegal workers arrested in his casino in Pampanga.
Sombero, then-president of Asian Gaming Service Providers Association Inc. (AGSPA), allegedly facilitated the exchange of bribe money at the City of Dreams Hotel and Casino in Parañaque City.
He had admitted to deducting P2 million from Lam's payout to serve as processing fee for the release papers of the arrested Chinese nationals.
Sombero, a former operative of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), turned himself in to incoming police chief Director Oscar Albayalde.
"We have to abide and follow the rule of law. May warrant of arrest ako. Dati akong pulis. Dati akong nagse-serve ng warrant. Alam ko ang hirap nung fugitive," Sombero said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.
"Gusto ko lang naman maka-surrender ako ng maayos kasi siyempre galing ako sa CIDG-PNP. Para mapatunayan na wala akong kasalanan dito. Haharapin ko ito. Maraming hindi nakakaalam ng pangyayari," he added.
Sombero has filed an urgent motion requesting detention in Crame's custodial center, and not in Camp Bagong Diwa, for security and health reasons, his lawyer Jessie Lanete said.
“He was, I believe at some point in time, he was the head of different anti-crime task forces, some of them ranging from illegal drugs and some of them also involved smuggling, kidnapping. And so because of that, there’s a real threat to his life,” Lanete told reporters.
Sombero has not received any recent communication from Lam, who himself is facing arrest for bribery, graft, and violation of Presidential Decree 46, Lanete said.
Sombero last year turned over to the Office of the Ombudsman the P2 million that he admitted deducting from Lam's bribe money.
Argosino and Robles were detained Wednesday at the Camp Bagong Diwa. An arrest warrant for the non-bailable charge of plunder was issued against them on Tuesday just as they posted bail for other offenses.
-- With reports from Maan Macapagal, Bianca Dava and Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News