ACTING on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, combined Philippine National Police and Bureau of Immigration agents on Sunday night shut down the online gaming facilities of Chinese casino magnate Jack Lam inside the Fontana Resort in Clark Airfield in Angeles City, Pampanga, PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said yesterday.
The top cop said next to be closed down are the other gaming facilities of Lam in Fort Ilocandia in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.
He said that although Lam is already out of the country, police authorities will monitor his return to the Philippines and arrest him on charges of attempted bribery and economic sabotage.
Dela Rosa, however, confirmed that Lam is still not the subject of any warrant of arrest issued by a competent court and thus, they could not request the Interpol to issue an International Red Notice on him, which would trigger his arrest in any Interpol member-countries.
“There is still no warrant issued on him but he can’t deny that he is involved in economic sabotage, employing countless illegal aliens, many of them undocumented Chinese nationals and draining money from our country,” the PNP chief said.
PNP AWAITS DUTERTE’S ORDER TO
PLACE SOMBERO UNDER ARREST
Dela Rosa said that they will also place retired Police Senior Superintendent Wally Sombero under arrest if President Duterte will order it. “The President’s order yesterday afternoon is to arrest Jack Lam. But in case he also orders the arrest of Sombero, we will immediately comply with the presidential instruction,” he said while adding he hasn’t talked with Sombero yet about the matter.
Lam was earlier accused by Justice Secretary Vitialiano Aguirre II of attempted bribery after allegedly offering the DoJ chief to serve as “ninong” (godfather) of his (Lam’s) underground gambling operations in the country.
Sombero allegedly served as the businessman’s translator cum mediator in making the offer.
There were also allegations that Lam’s camp tried to offer money to seek the release of over 1,000 Chinese nationals arrested for working without permits at the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Pampanga, owned by Lam’s group.
Dela Rosa said that in the case of Lam, they can’t invoke the hot pursuit doctrine in arresting him outside the country. “We have to first furnish an official warrant of arrest issued by a competent Philippine court against Jack Lam to the Interpol. That would be their basis in issuing a Red Notice on him,” the PNP chief said.
An Interpol Red Notice was also used as a basis by the Abu Dhabi police in arresting suspected Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. The Red Notice was issued after the PNP furnished the Interpol with warrants of arrest for illegal possession of drugs and ammunition issued against Espinosa by a Leyte court.
Records from the Bureau of Immigration headed by retired PNP General Jaime Morente showed that Lam left the country for Hong Kong last November 29 in a Cathay Pacific flight. Lam’s departure came four days after he arrived in Manila from Taipei.
The Macau-based tycoon, who had earlier protested what he deemed his persecution by Philippine authorities despite having been among the few who invested heavily in Clark, had apparently flown home just four days after arriving in Manila, and right after his controversial meeting with Sec. Aguirre.
Lam is using a Subic-Clark Investor’s Visa (SCIV), a special visa issued by the government to foreign investors based at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga.
Last month, Lam’s online gambling operations and employment of undocumented Chinese nationals was exposed by the DoJ after Immigration officers raided Lam’s online gambling lair at Fontana and rounded up 1,316 Chinese nationals, many of them undocumented.
According to Sec. Aguirre, more or less 3,000 Chinese would have been arrested had information on the raid not leaked.
INVESTOR’S VISA ORDERED CANCELLED
The DoJ yesterday directed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to cancel the Investor’s Visa issued to gaming tycoon Yin Lok “Jack” Lam, who has left the country, even before President Duterte ordered his arrest for alleged economic sabotage and attempted bribery in connection with his alleged illegal gaming operations inside the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Pampanga.
Justice Secretary Aguirre also directed BI Commissioner Jaime Morente to issue an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order against Lam in order to monitor his itineraries and whereabouts.
Aguirre said the issuance of an ILBO was necessary not only to track down Lam but also to carry out his arrest as directed by the President “if warranted.”
BI records showed Lam left last Tuesday after 1,316 Chinese nationals were arrested in the online casino facilities operating in Fontana.
The Bureau has no records of Lam’s return to the country since then.
BI MEN ALERTED
ALL BI personnel in the country’s international airports and seaports were alerted and directed to effect the arrest of Lam once he is seen arriving in the country.
BI spokesperson Atty. Ma. Antonette Mangrobang said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the order after the PNP chief said that President Duterte wants Lam arrested for bribery and economic sabotage.
A directive was also given to Marc Red Mariñas, BI port operations division (POD) chief, to turn over Lam to the PNP or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) the moment he is apprehended by BI officers.
Lam’s pictures were transmitted to Immigration officers at the different airports and seaports in connection with the order to have him arrested. With Hector Lawas and Itchie Cabayan