BUREAU of Immigration intelligence chief, retired police general, Charles Calima, confirmed that he was “monitoring” the activities of two ranking bureau officials at the ‘City of Dreams’ casino in Parañaque City last November 27 when they met with former police colonel, Wally Sombero, and allegedly received money in exchange for the release of hundreds of illegal Chinese workers arrested by the bureau in Pampanga two days earlier.
“Tayo ang nag-monitor du’n (transaction),” Calima told People’s Tonight, referring to the “pay-off” that was revealed by columnist Ramon Tulfo in his column last December 10.
Calima said he intended to arrest Robles and Algorosino in the act of receiving the money from Sombero but the opportunity did not present itself.
Yesterday, BI commissioner Jaime Morente ordered Calima and associate commissioners, Al Argosino and Michael Robles, to submit a written explanation, “within 24 hours” over the incident.
Although Tulfo did not name the “rapacious” BI associate commissioners in his column, the bureau only has two associate commissioners, Robles and Argosino, and one commissioner, Morente.
The article, quoting Sombero, claimed the two officials got P50 million in exchange for the release of some 600 of the 1,319 illegal Chinese workers the BI apprehended on November 25 inside the ‘Fontana Leisure Park’ at Clark, Pampanga owned by businessman, Jack Lam.
However, the two officials allegedly reneged on their part of the bargain.
Calima added Morente’s order for them to submit a written explanation over the allegation is “just normal.”
“Normal lang ’yun na magpaliwanag kung ano ang nangyari,” said the highly respected and bemedalled former director for intelligence of the Philippine National Police.
Morente said his order is “separate” from the investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) ordered by Department of Justice secretary, Vitaliano Aguirre.
“The Bureau of Immigration has been consistent in adhering to the guidance of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to upgrade the level of service to all our clients and weed out corruption in the bureaucracy.
“We have taken pains to address all irregularities with impartiality and will continue to take decisive action as needed,” Morente said.
In a joint statement also yesterday, Robles and Argosino said they are “taking a leave of absence” from their duties “in the interest of justice and in our adherence to the rule of law and our belief in the truth.”
The two officials were appointed by Pres. Duterte at the BI as they were all fraternity brothers and came from the San Beda Law School.
The two said they also “fully and wholeheartedly support” Pres. Duterte’s war against corruption in government.