Dispatch from Crame No. 272: Statement of Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the filing of plunder charges in the Bureau of Immigration – Jack Lam Extortion Scandal


Share on facebook
Share on twitter

The recent filing of plunder charges against former BI officials Al Argosino and Michael Robles by the Ombudsman is a welcome development in exposing corruption in the Duterte Administration, especially that committed by Duterte’s personal appointees such as his fellow brods in the Lex Talionis fraternity.

However, much as this is a laudable step by the Ombudsman, it is highly doubtful if the 50 million-peso extortion operation was masterminded solely by Argosino and Robles. During the Senate investigation, several other officials were implicated in the money trail, from the meeting of Secretary Aguirre with Jack Lam at the Shangri-la Hotel to the final delivery of the 50 million pesos at the Dasmariñas residence of PAGCOR President Alfred Lim.

This intricate web of personalities points to the involvement of a higher official, definitely higher than Argosino and Robles. The common denominator among these actors of course is their link to President Duterte’s law school fraternity, and personal ties with the President himself.

If anything, it certainly points to a major shake-down operation at the highest levels of government on a vulnerable gambling syndicate that needed DOJ, BI, and PAGCOR protection. To submit that the only culpable officials here are the BI deputies misses the role of essential actors, such as Aguirre and Lim, whose blessings were needed for the grant of protection to Jack Lam, which, in the first place, is the very consideration for the entire bribe offer and extortion deal.

Argosino and Robles should be mindful that they cannot forever rely on the protection of their fraternity brothers in Malacañang and Duterte officials who will soon be taking over the Office of the Ombudsman. It is better for them to reveal the extent of the involvement of Duterte officials and their fraternity brothers in the entire extortion operation and “fund-raising” activity, rather than suffer the consequences all by themselves.

There is no shame in Argosino and Robles turning their backs on personal fraternity ties, especially if they were left in the cold holding the money bag just for the others to escape liability. Certainly, there is no honor in taking all the blame and serving a life sentence for the crime, while the extortion masterminds continue to remain scot-free to plunder more. ###

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City

Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
807-8489 / (Rm. 16) 807-8580 /local 8619


© 2019 Office of Sen. Leila de Lima. All rights reserved.