Sombero: BI ex­ec­s­given P50M as 'pay­off'

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

FOR­MER

po­lice of­fi­cer Wenceslao "Wally" Sombero, al­leged as­so­ciate of Chi­nese gam­ing tycoon Jack Lam, said the P50 mil­lion he handed to the two Bureau of Im­mi­gra­tion (BI) of­fi­cials was given as pay­off.

"Mr. Chair, I would like to put into record that what hap­pened in the City of Dreams be­tween 11:00 ng gabi nung Novem­ber 26 up to 6:30 a.m. of Novem­ber 27, wala pong nang­yaring (there was no) ex­tor­tion­bribery doon," Sombero said, ap­pear­ing for the first time in the Se­nate hear­ing.

It was ear­lier al­leged that the P50 mil­lion he had given to BI com­mis­sion­ers Al Ar­gosino and Michael Rob­les was for intended for the re­lease of more than half of the 1,316 Chi­nese na­tion­als ar­rested at Lam's on­line gam­ing op­er­a­tions in Clark, Pam­panga.

When asked to dif­fer­en­ti­ate pay­offs from bribery, Sombero said: "Mr. Chair, yung perang in­volved doon sa ak­ing pala­gay, it was a busi­ness de­ci­sion on the part of the Jack Lam group to agree on the amount."

Sombero added that the amount did not come from Lam him­self but from Chi­nese on­line gam­ing providers in Fon­tana, the ho­tel where Lam's casino was sit­u­ated.

"Narinig ko na hindi rin kay Jack Lam nang­gal­ing ang pera. 'Yun po ay gal­ing sa mga nag-re­lease ng mga on­line gam­ing, ser­vice providers sa Fon­tana," he said.

"Kaya tu­matawag sila sa Fon­tana para hin­gin ang bail, pres­sured na sila sa Chi­nese em­bassy. Dalaw nang dalaw ang con­sul kaya kailan­gan ni­lang mail­abas yung more than 800 Chi­nese na may work­ing visa," he said.

Sombero, how­ever, claimed that it was true that the two com­mis­sion­ers tried to ex­tort money from Lam.

In a meet­ing with the com­mis­sion­ers and Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre II on Novem­ber 26, he said Ar­gosino asked him for P100 mil­lion.

"Pag­ba­lik ko po, pagka­hatid ko kay Sec­re­tary Aguirre, nagh­in­tay sa akin si Ar­gosino sa labas. Ang sabi niya sakin may nag-oof­fer, di na­man tinang­gap, marami po, pero dun po na­punta sa P100 mil­lion," Sombero said.

Asked fur­ther when the ex­tor­tion hap­pened, he said it was at "6:00 a.m., Novem­ber 26."

Sombero said Ar­gosino asked for 100 mil­lion to which he replied, "Sasabi­hin ko [sa mga in­ter­preters ni Jack Lam] ."

Ar­gosino and Rob­les in the ear­lier Se­nate hear­ing said Sombero of­fered them a P50 mil­lion bribe. They added that they ac­cepted the money as "ev­i­dence" in the on­go­ing probe they are con­duct­ing against pay­offs in the BI.

Sombero is the pres­i­dent of Asian Gam­ing Ser­vice Providers.

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