2 ex-BI men face plunder complaint; ex-intel chief turns over P18M


Posted at Dec 22 2016 12:14 PM | Updated as of Dec 22 2016 02:16 PM

A former Bureau of Immigration intelligence chief has filed a plunder complaint against former BI Associate Commissioners Al C. Argosino and Michael B. Robles in connection with the P50 million bribery scandal being linked to gambling tycoon Jack Lam.

In a memorandum to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said BI intel chief Charles Calima has filed a complaint with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group for plunder against the two associate commissioners.

"Together with his filing, he turned over the two (2) paper bags to the said office, which after accounting, revealed the amount of P18,000,000.00. The custody of the evidence is with the CIDG hence the undersigned could no longer turnover the same to the Honorable Secretary," Morente said.

The P50 million bribery scandal involving top immigration officers has been described by Aguirre as the biggest scandal affecting the Duterte administration in its first six months in office.

He said he is considering a complete overhaul of the immigration bureau after the scandal.

The justice chief earlier ordered Morente to turn over a P20 million bribe allegedly given by Argosino and Robles to Calima.

Argosino and Robles earlier confirmed receiving a P50 million bribe from Lam for the release of over 1,300 supposedly undocumented workers arrested in Lam's online gambling casino.

The two, who are fraternity brothers of Duterte in San Beda College of Law’s Lex Talionis Fraternitas, Inc, said they kept the money as part of an investigation against the Macau-based businessman.

They also claimed that P2 million of the P50 million went to Wally Sombero, a former police official linked to Lam, while P18 million was allegedly given to former BI intelligence chief Charles Calima.

Duterte has fired the 2 commissioners as well as the BI intel chief.

For his part, Morente said he ordered Calima to conduct counter intelligence on BI officers accepting bribes.