By: Roy Bersales
ONCE he returns home from a state visit, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte vowed that he will fire two top officials out of his administration due to corruption.
Duterte did not divulge their names.
The President is expected to berate the two officials in a press briefing.
But, it looks like they are Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles because the two are the only top government officials who were dragged in the P50 Million extortion scandal who remains in the government.
The P50 Million was said to be the pay-offs of Chinese businessman Jack Lam to officials of the BI for the liberty of 600 Chinese nationals who were part of the 1,350 Chinese nationals who were arrested by BI policemen last month for working in illegal online gambling business of Lam at the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark Pampanga.
Lam has also online gambling business at the Fort Ilocandia in Ilocos.
Duterte already ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest Lam for bribery and economic sabotage charges.
When the pay-offs/extortion scandal exploded this week, Argosino and Robles took a leave of absence from the BI.
BI’s intelligence people, Charles Calima Jr. and Edward Chan have already been kicked out by Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II as their names cropped up in the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the extortion scandal.
Argosino has told the media that Calima got P18 Million from the P50 Million pay-offs.
Chan is Calima’s partner in the intelligence operations of the BI.
According to Aguirre, the fate of Argosino and Robles would be up to Duterte.
Argosino, Robles, Aguirre, and Duterte are all members of the San Beda College of Law-based Lex Talionis Fraternitas, Inc.
Argosino and Robles informed the media that they both officially tendered their resignation from the BI “effectively immediately.”
“To spare the Honorable President from the troubles brought about by the false allegation hurled by Mr. Wally Sombero, we are tendering our resignation effective immediately,” Argosino explained.
The duo’s move was done few hours after Wally Sombero filed graft and corruption charges against them at the Office of the Ombudsman on Friday.
Sombero, a retired police general, is connected with Lam.
Sombero was the one who previously told Aguirre that Lam was looking for a godfather who will take care his gambling business in the Philippines in exchange of huge amount of money.
Aguirre rejected the offer.
Sombero appeared that he looked for other friendly officials.
On November 27, Sombero, Argosino, and Robles met at the City of Dreams where the pay-offs happened.
Argosino and Robles accepted the P50 Million from Sombero.
The incident was seen in the CCTV of the City of Dreams.
However, it should be known by the public that Calima got P18 Million and Sombero received P2 Million, apparently as a commission, according to Argosino.
Argosino, Robles, Calima, and Chan were all new in the BI.
They have not worked for a year in the BI and yet a P50 Million extortion already happened.