WALLY Sombero — the retired police official embroiled in a bribery controversy involving illegal Chinese workers in online gaming operations at Clark free port—has placed himself under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
This was confirmed on Saturday by NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin.
“He is under the custody of the Intelligence Service,” Lavin told The Manila Times.
It was Sombero who accompanied Chinese gaming tycoon Jack Lam to a meeting with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd in late November. Sombero also met Alfredo Lim, chief operating officer of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Aguirre later claimed Lam offered to bribe him for the release of more than 1,000 Chinese nationals arrested at Clark, and Domingo in exchange for allowing online gaming operations at the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino.
Sombero sought refuge from the NBI following a report that Lam paid P50 million to two Bureau of Immigration officials in exchange for the release of the Chinese nationals.
The two assistant commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration who allegedly got the P50 million have been placed under an NBI probe. Their identities were withheld pending results of an initial investigation.
The money was allegedly in exchange for the release of 600 out of the 1,316 Chinese online gaming employees who didn’t have employment visas.
At the NBI last Thursday, Sombero, a former police chief superintendent, denied he was a middleman of Lam.
Contrary to the claim of Aguirre, Sombero said he reported the extortion to the Justice secretary during their meeting at a hotel in Bonifacio Global City on November 26. He claimed he was asking for help because the immigration officials wanted more money.
The P50 million was allegedly given to the immigration officials last November 27 near the City of Dreams casino complex in Parañaque City.
On November 29, Lam left Manila on a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong.
Editor’s Note: The third paragraph of this story was revised to state that Wally Sombero met with Alfredo Lim, chief operating officer of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), and did not accompany Jack Lam to a meeting with Pagcor chairwoman Andrea Domingo.