The Bureau of Immigration has ordered three BI officials to explain allegations that some BI officials extorted P50 million from Chinese gambling tycoon Jack Lam to release thousands of Chinese workers arrested in Pampanga.
In a statement, BI Commissioner Jamie Morente said he has ordered Associate Commissioner Al C. Argosino, Associate Commissioner Michael B. Robles and Acting BI Intelligence Chief Police Director Charles T. Calima Jr (Ret) to submit within 24 hours their explanation on the allegations of a P50 million extortion try against Lam.
The allegations were revealed by columnist Ramon Tulfo last December 10.
Both Argosino and Robles have taken a 30-day leave of absence to give the bureau a free hand in the investigation.
Morente said the investigation on the commissioners is separate from the NBI investigation ordered by Aguirre.
“The Bureau of Immigration has been consistent in adhering to the guidance of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to upgrade the level of service to all our clients and weed out corruption in the bureaucracy. We have taken pains to address all irregularities with impartiality and will continue to take decisive action as needed,” he added.
Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo earlier said two BI associate commissioners who are "brods" of President Rodrigo Duterte in Lex Taleonis got P50 million from Lam in exchange for the release of 600 out of 1,316 mainland Chinese online gaming employees at Fontana Resort who did not have employment visas.
In his column titled "Rapacious Immigration Commissioners", Tulfo said the money was handed over by ex-police general Wally Sombero at the second floor of City of Dreams last November 27.
The whole transaction was allegedly recorded by CCTV cameras and monitored by retired police general Charles Calima, chief of the BI’s intelligence unit.
The BI officials, however, did not keep part of their deal and even asked for P100 million more, Tulfo claimed. This is the reason why Sombero brought Lam to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II but that Sombero could not directly tell the Secretary of the demands of the BI officials, he said.
Aguirre earlier accused Lam and Sombero of offering a huge bribe for the release of over 1,300 allegedly undocumented Chinese workers who were working in an illegal online casino in Pampanga.
President Rodrigo Duterte later ordered Lam's arrest over bribery and economic sabotage charges.
Sombero earlier admitted asking Aguirre to act as "ninong" to gambling tycoon Jack Lam but denied that he offered a bribe to the justice chief in behalf of the tycoon.