Sen. Leila M. De Lima today urged the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to cite Retired Police Superintendent Wenceslao “Wally” Sombero Jr. for contempt due to his repeated failure to attend its probe into an alleged bribery scandal involving officials of the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
At the resumption of the Senate hearing, De Lima refused to believe Sombero’s excuse for not appearing in the Senate investigation, citing medical check-up he is purportedly undergoing in an undisclosed hospital in Canada.
“I don’t buy the story of Mr. Sombero. This is the third hearing that he was invited. This is the third time that he has not appeared,” she said.
Sombero, is accused of allegedly bribing BI associate commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles in exchange for the release of over 1,300 Chinese workers at the online casino of his alleged boss, gambling tycoon Jack Lam.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, also questioned Immigration Chief Jaime Morente why Sombero was allowed to leave the country last month despite a look-out bulletin order the government has slapped against him.
“Given all of these new revelations about being able to leave easily even if under Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO), even if technically, legally, ILBO does not serve to prevent the departure of the subject of the ILBO,” she added.
“Bakit po nakalusot si Mr. Sombero? This is a big issue. Kailangan alamin din po natin iyong paglalagay ng pangalan na Wally lang, Wally Sombero, when his full name is supposed to be Wenceslao Sombero,” she said.
Lawyer Ted Contacto, Sombero’s counsel, said the former policeman failed to attend the hearing after he was denied to board his flight from Vancouver, Canada last Feb. 6 due to an increase in his sugar levels.
In a letter read during the Senate hearing, Contacto claimed Sombero was advised to seek clearance from a cardiologist before taking a flight back to the country.