THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) urged President Rodrigo Duterte to apply quick justice to two Immigration officials who on Tuesday admitted having received P50 million from Chinese online gambling operator Jack Lam.
The P50 million given to Associate Commissioners Al C. Argosino and Michael B. Robles 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.
“These two commissioners were practically caught flatfooted in the act of receiving bribes. We have video footages, witnesses, “dirty” money in bags. What more do we need as evidence?” VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez said.
“Let’s skip the judicial red tapes and all the delaying tactics and go right to prosecuting them. We have a case here, clearly there’s a payoff. So then, let’s do the EJP,” he added.
He explained that EJP, or extra judicial process, cuts the lengthy process of filing a criminal case to ensure immediate resolution of a complaint or legal action.
“Snappy legal action, cutting corners from the slow processes would prevent other crimes to be committed. Let us not give corrupt officials the opportunity to circumvent the law by more bribes, more payoffs and who knows, to hide evidence or eliminate incriminating people permanently by resorting to extra judicial killings? Instead, let’s do it right legally but swiftly through the Extra Judicial Process,” Jimenez said.
He suggested that EJP will expedite the legal process from the Department of Justice which investigates to determine probable cause to the Office of the Ombudsman and quickly to the Office of the Court Administrator where the case can be raffled off before a marathon hearing can be conducted.
“That’s EJP, fast on the draw against corruptors in government,” Jimenez said.
Based on the CCTV footage, the money was handed to the two Immigration officials by retired police general Wally Sombero.
In a news conference on Tuesday, the two officials claimed that they were framed up. They added that they kept the money 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.