Philippine National Police Director Charles T. Calima Jr. will file non-bailable plunder and violation of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act against sacked Bureau of Immigration Associate Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles in connection with a P150 million extortion attempt, of which P50 million was given to them by a representative of billionaire Chinese online casino magnate Jack Lam, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
Calima, the erstwhile BI intelligence division chief on Tuesday also turned over to the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Major Crime Investigation Unit two paper bags containing the P18 million cash which were left in his private office by Argosino and Robel.
The money in P1,000 bills will be used as evidence in his complaint for plunder against the two BI assistant commissioners. Senior PNP officials said that Calima’s classmates from Philippine Military Academy Class 1981 arranged the turnover of the P18 million to the CIDG with PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa.
Calima said that BI Commissioner Jaime H. Morente, his mistah from PMA Class 1981 fully knew the counter-intelligence operation he launched to identify and subsequently arrest the two BI ranking officials involved in the multi-million-peso extortion.
He said that he sought guidance from Comm. Morente after the money was delivered to him by the two BI officials and he was told by the latter to personally brief Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III on the matter “because I am in a better position to tell him what happened because it involves two Associate Commissioners.”
Calima said he tried but failed to seek a personal audience with Secretary Aguirre.
Last December 13, Calima’s service with the BI was terminated by Aguirre. In the afternoon of the same day, Argosino and Robles held a press conference regarding their receipt of the P50 million from Jack Lam and his associates and presented P30 million. The two also stated they had given Calima P18 million and retired Senior Superintendent Wally Sombero P2 million.
“I would like to reiterate that I had been conducting a valid, legitimate and sanctioned counter-intelligence operations against Associate Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles. Part of my operations was to determine whether or not they have engaged in corruption while occupying their positions as Associate Commissioners of the BI. The operations culminated in their delivering to my safehouse, two bags of money, which, according to them, contained Php 18 million. As such I am now turning over to the government, through this agency, the product of our counter-intelligence operations and evidence against Associate Commissioners Argosino and Robles,” he said.
Calima reiterated that last December 13, Argosino and Robles admitted having received, from Jack Lam, the amount of P50 million, which is the threshold amount for commission of the crime of plunder.
“The admission by the Associate Commissioners, in their press conference bolsters the findings of our counter-intelligence operations against them, that they have gained ill-gotten wealth, through the use of their government positions, in the amount of Php 50 million,” he said.