Retired cop in P50-M BI bribery scandal surrenders

MANILA A retired police colonel implicated in the PHP50-million bribery scandal at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) voluntarily surrendered at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame on Wednesday morning.

Wenceslao Wally Sombero went through booking procedures under the supervision of National Capital Region Police Director Oscar Albayalde, who was accompanied by PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Director Roel Obusan and PNP Director for Operations Camilo Cascolan.

Sombero was tagged as the middleman in the scandal involving two former immigration officials who allegedly received PHP50 million in hush money from businessman Jack Lam.

The charges against Sombero and former immigration deputy commissioners Al C. Argosino and Michael Robles are pending before the Sandiganbayan.

The PHP50 million was supposedly meant to smooth out the case involving 1,316 undocumented Chinese employees in Clark, Pampanga who were arrested in an immigration operation in November 2016.

Earlier this week, Argosino and Robles posted bail bonds worth PHP60,000 each at the anti-graft court's 6th Division for bribery charges.

The separate charge for the crime of plunder against the two former BI officials, however, is non-bailable.

Republic Act No. 7080 defines plunder as being committed by public officers and their relatives and associates when they acquire ill gotten wealth of up to PHP50 million.

Video footage showed Argosino and Robles walking out of a casino lobby with an oversized bag apparently containing the money. They later claimed the money was part of a sting operation but failed to explain why it took them 10 days to report the incident. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency