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House Speaker Alvarez appealed to Argosino and Robles to “spare President Duterte the embarrassment” of firing them

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez called on two immigration executives who were caught on tape receiving payoffs amounting to P50 million not to wait for President Rodrigo Duterte fire them.

Speaker Alvarez made the pronouncement on December 13, Tuesday, after Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles turnover P30 million out of the P50 million bribe allegedly from Chinese gambling operator Jack Lam.

The amount was allegedly given in exchange of the release of 600 out of 1,316 Chinese casino workers nabbed by BI on November 24 at Lam’s Fontana Leisure Park and Casino in Clark Freeport, Pampanga.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

According to Speaker Alvarez, it would be better for the caught immigration officials to voluntarily resign to “spare President Duterte the embarrassment” of kicking them out of their posts.

Alvarez’ call for resignation is following some suggestions that the House of Representatives investigate the extortion controversy involving the BI associate commissioners.

“I hope they will just resign on their own to spare the President the embarrassment”, the House Speaker told the reporters in a chance interview.

“It is hard to deny because they were caught on video”, Alvarez added.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) showed the copies of the camera footage of a casino mall in Parañaque City where Argosino and Robles were seen receiving five paper bags, allegedly containing P10 million each.

Argosino and Robles

Immigration Deputy Commissioners Argosino and Robles during the turnover of the P30 million to the DOJ.

Former police colonel Wally Sombero, who is linked to gambling tycoon Lam, handed the paper bags to the immigration officials.

In the video supposedly taken on November 26 and 27, the commissioners and Sombero were seen walking to a restaurant inside the mall. Sombero was then holding two paper bags containing bundles of cash.

After a few seconds of talk, Sombero left but returned several hours carrying three more bags supposedly containing the additional P30 million. He brought along two other men who helped him carry the paper bags.

The cash were turnover to the DOJ apparently for safekeeping while Argosino and Robles claim that they were only victims of circumstances.

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