Immigration (BI) Associate Commissioners Al C. Argosino and Michael B. Robles admitted having received P50 million from Chinese online gambling operator Jack Lam.
The P50 million was allegedly in exchange for the release of 600 illegal Chinese arrested for working without permit at the Fontana Hotel and Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga.
The transaction took place on November 27 at the City of Dreams Hotel and Casino in Pasay City.
Based on the CCTV records of the hotel, the money was handed to the two officials by retired police general Wally Sombero.
In a news conference on Tuesday, the two immigration officials claimed that they were framed up. They added that they kept the money to use it as evidence against Lam and his cohorts.
“We don’t look at this as bribe money, we look at this as evidence of corruption,” Agrosino said.
He explained that they did not have Sombero arrested so as not to blow up their operation since they were still collecting evidence against Lam.
“That’s why it reached this point that we are being accused of receiving bribe money from Lam,” Agrosino said.
The two officials accused retired police general Charles Calima, the acting BI intelligence chief, of conspiring with Sombero in setting them up.
Agrosino presented only P30 million during the news briefing. He said Sombero took P2 million while Calima pocketed P18 million.
The two officials yesterday filed corruption of public officials charges against Sombero, Calima, Lam and his two interpreters.
Agrosino and Robles had filed a 30-day leave of absence.
However, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd said he has recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the duo’s dismissal from the service. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL