MANILA – Justice Secretary Vitalliano Aguirre on Friday said former policeman Wally Sombrero expressed his willingness to cooperate in the ongoing probe of alleged extortion from gambling tycoon Jack Lam.
“Tinext ako ni Gen. Sombero habang nagfa-file sa Ombudsman. Sinabi sa akin ni Gen. Sombero, ‘Secretary, I am willing to cooperate. Please give me instruction,’” Aguirre said in an interview on DZMM.
Sombero turned over on Thursday the P2-million which was part of the P50-M extortion money that two Bureau of Immigration commissioners allegedly took from Lam.
“Sabi ko sa kanya yung investigation niya gumugulong. Isang payo lang maibibigay ko sa yo: Do the right thing,” he said.
Sombero and former Bureau of Immigration Intelligence Chief Charles Calima were supposed to file a case together against Deputy commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles. However, Sombero told Aguirre that Calima did not show up.
“Walang mention ang mga yan sa kanilang mga affidavit tungkol doon sa P2 million at P18 million na yan,” Aguirre said.
Argosino and Robles admitted to accepting P50 million from Lam as part of their supposed investigation against the Macau-based businessman.
They claimed P18 million of the P50 million was pocketed by Calima while P2 million went to Sombero.
Aguirre said many questions still hound the scandal that rocked the Bureau of Immigration. He asked why Calima did not immediately turned over the P18-million that was supposed to be an evidence against Lam.
Aguirre said that if the operation they conducted was legal and has the blessings of their head, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, it shouldn't have taken Calima days to turn over the missing money.
"Ang unang unang rule dyan ay keep your bossing informed of the development. Dapat sinabi niya agad kay General Morente na 'Boss, nakakuha kami dito nasa akin yung P18 million o na kay Wally Sombero yung P2 million'. Yun ang unang step. Basic po yan sa mga intelligence officers," he said.
He also questioned why Calima deposited the P18 million to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) instead of the National Bureau of Investigation which was conducting an investigation into the case.
The CIDG was Calima's former unit before being appointed to the Bureau of Immigration.
"Kaya may sulat ako ngayon sa CIDG na iturnover sa amin o sa NBI yung P18 million na yan," he said.
Aguirre relieved Calima and his alleged right-hand man, identified only as "Colonel Chan", for allegedly accepting millions of pesos from Lam in exchange for the release of the businessman's supposedly undocumented Chinese workers.
"Pagkatanggap niya ng termination letter yung lahat ng nasa kanya na dapat nasa Bureau of Immigration dapat tinurnover niya. Yang P20 million na yan bakit niya di tinurnover? Yan ang mga katanungang bumabagabag sa marami," he said.