BI officials deny extortion, but admit receiving P50 million as part of Jack Lam investigation

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioners Michael Robles and Al Argosino admitted they received P50 million from the camp of Macau-based gambling tycoon Jack Lam, but claimed they did so as part of the probe being conducted against the gambling tycoon accused of running illegal online gambling operations in Pampanga.

In a statement, the two BI officials said: “The truth of the matter is that this case is a continuing investigation about employment of illegal aliens and illegal gambling operation, as well as on how their existence during the past administration would thrive through illegal payoffs.”

During a press conference, Robles and Argosino told reporters that Wally Sombero, a former police officer who delivered the P50 million to them, took P2 million, while BI Intelligence chief Charles Calima pocketed P18 million.

According to GMA News Online, Robles and Argosino said they kept the remaining P30 million as evidence. They said they did not arrest Sombero because they have yet to establish his connections to the gambling tycoon.

“We are all lawyers and we decided at that time it was turned over to us that we do not have the goods yet on Jack Lam,” Argosino said.

The two embattled BI officials have gone on a one-month leave. They turned over the P30 million to Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Tuesday, December 13.