• BI chief not quitting

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    Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente has no plans of resigning despite the declaration of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd that the former should quit.

    “I serve at the pleasure of the President, and the reform agenda that we have implemented is according to his specific direction to secure our borders, improve service efficiency and eradicate corruption in the bureaucracy,” Morente said in a statement.

    Morente was also implicated in the P50 million bribery scandal that rocked the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and led to the dismissal of deputy commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles.

    The BI is an adjunct agency of the Justice department.

    Aguirre earlier said that he could no longer work with Morente and that if he had his way, he wanted the BI chief to suffer the fate of Argosino and Robles.

    Argosino and Robles were caught on close circuit television camera (CCTV) receiving P50 million from gaming tycoon Jack Lam’s intermediary, former police colonel Wenceslao “Wally” Sombrero at the City of Dreams Hotel and Casino in Pasay City.

    Morente has maintained his silence even as he was implicated in the complaint filed by the two former commissioners against Lam, his two interpreters and Sombrero for corruption of public officials and violation of the anti-wiretapping law.

    “I can still work with the SOJ (secretary of justice),” Morente said.

    “In the last 38 years of my military and police service, I have worked with superiors with different personalities, management and leadership styles. As a professional, the focus has always been on the task at hand, and achieving the targets,” he added.

    “I have been working with Secretary Aguirre since July 2016, and a number of milestones have been achieved in the last five and a half months. My training and my oath of office is to serve the Filipino people and protect the interests of our country,” he said.

    Morente was a former Davao City chief of police. He and former BI intelligence officer Charles Calima are members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1981.

    Aguirre sacked Calima and his assistant, Police Supt. Edward Chan because of the scandal. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

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