By: Marites Toledo
NO less than the chief of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) who cleared Charles Calima Jr. from P50 Million extortion brouhaha.
Commissioner Jaime Morente said he ordered Calima to investigate the extortion activity of Al Argosino and Michael Robles to Jack Lam, Chinese businessman operating online gambling in the Philippines.
But Calima and Edward Chan were sacked as chief intelligence officer and intelligence assistance of the BI, respectively, by Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II after their names were mentioned in the investigation done by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Argosino and Robles have already resigned from being deputy commissioners to prevent dragging Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s name in the P50 Million extortion scandal.
Argosino, Robles, and Duterte are fraternity brothers.
According to Morante, Argosino and Robles have previously admitted in a press conference that they got P50 Million from Lam to get the evidence that would pin down Argosino and Robles in allegedly extorting P50 Million from Lam.
The amount was intended for the release of 600 Chinese nationals out of 1,350 who were arrested by the BI operatives last month at the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark Pampanga.
Morante said Calima told him that Argosino and Robles got P50 Million from retired Wally Sombero on December 1 in the City of Dreams in Paranaque City.
Sombero is Lam’s man.
The release of P50 Million by Sombero to Argosino and Robles were caught in the video.
Morente said Argosino and Robles confronted Calima on December 8 at the BOI office as they believed that Calima was the one who leaked to the media P50 million extortion scandal.
In the said confrontation, Morente said “Ipinakita ni General Calima ‘yung kanyang ebidensya. Medyo natulala yung dalawang deputy commissioners, nagtanong kung ano ang pwede kong itulong. Ang sabi ko, hindi ko kayo pwedeng tulungan dyan. You have to be responsible for the consequence of your actions.”
He said the P18 Million that Argosino and Robles have given to Sombero was an evidence.
The remaining to P2 Million was given to Sombero.
Morente explained that Calima’s purpose was “makakuha ng concrete evidence na may hawak na pera yung dalawa. Nasa kanya po. Ang huling instruction ko sa kanya before siya na terminate, I think it was December 13, sabi ko sa kanya, you file the case and submit the report and then turn over the evidence to proper authorities.”
Argosino and Robles are both facing graft and corruption charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.