Aguirre open to De Lima’s Senate probe request on Jack Lam bribery scandal
by UNTV News | Posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Senator Leila de Lima, as supposed, has the right to appeal to the Senate to investigate into the bribery scandal involving two former Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said it will even help shed light on why is there a large number of foreign national illegally working in the Philippines.
It can be recalled that Chinese online gambling tycoon Jack Lam allegedly attempted to bribe former BI commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles with P100 million in exchange for the release of over 1,300 Chinese illegal workers arrested in his Fontana Casino in Clark, Pampanga.
“Para malaman natin kung ano’ng ginawa niya bakit nagkaroon d’yan ng malakihang illegal na mga staying ‘yung mga foreigners? What did she do during her incumbency as secretary of justice? Mayroon bang nag-ninong d’yan sa mga yan?” Sec. Aguirre said.
(So that we will know what she did why there is a large number of foreigners illegally staying [in Fontana]. What did she do during her incumbency as Secretary of Justice? Do the [Chinese] have a coddler?)
On the other hand, Sen. De Lima withdrew her resolution filed with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
She now wants the Civil Service Committee to conduct the probe for a more extensive investigation.
“It has to do with the thorough review of structure and systems within the BI, with the end view of precluding, minimizing, if not precluding altogether acts of corruption among its ranks,” said Sen. De Lima.
De Lima has earlier expressed concern over the President’s allegedly favoring Argosino and Robles.
Sec. Auirre, however, said investigation of former BI officials should be entrusted to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Nagkakaroon lang ng political color kasi parang lumalabas niyan na gumaganti lang siya eh, sa mga finile sa kanya,” Aguirre said.
(It would only seem that [the Senate inquiry] is politically-motivated because it would appear that she is only retaliating for the cases filed against her.)
Aside from the Ombudsman, the BI, the DOJ, and the NBI have separate investigations too. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue
Another trial court judge has inhibited from Sen. Leila de Lima’s drug cases.
MANILA, Philippines — Another trial court judge has inhibited from Sen. Leila de Lima’s drug cases.
In an order dated January 23, 2017, Judge Myrna Quiambao of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 203 said she voluntarily inhibited from De Lima’s case because of her very close relationship to one of the prosecutors handling it.
Judge Quiambao explained that she is a law school classmate of Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Leila Llanes who is also a godparent to two of her children.
Also, most of the members of the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution panel are her friends being her late husband’s colleagues at the DOJ.
Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 has previously inhibited from the same case due to the allegations of bias and partiality of the De Lima’s camp. — UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — In what seems to be an effort to bolster the case against Senator Leila de Lima, the prosecution is now seeking to amend all the three illegal drug trading charges.
The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 on Friday, heard the motion of the prosecution to modify the cases from illegal drug trading to conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading.
Similar motions were already filed with the two other branches hearing De Lima’s cases.
A member of the prosecution team explained that the accusations and evidence would remain the same.
“Only to be more precise and to conform with the evidence, the allegations in the complaint. It will not in anyway prejudice the substantial rights of the accused,” said Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Ramoncito Ocampo, Jr.
But a lawyer for De Lima said the prosecution is only making up for the weakness in their case.
“Those are two different cases talaga na tingin namin ay ginawa nila ito para maiwasan ang fatal defect sa original information which is the absence of the actual drugs allegedly traded (Those are really two different cases. We think they did it to elude the fatal defect in the original information which is the absence of the actual drugs allegedly traded),” said Atty. Boni Tacardon, legal counsel of Sen. Leila de Lima.
For one, the prosecution has now alleged that inmates of the New Bilibid Prison were used to sell and trade illegal drugs.
This is a new accusation which is absent in the original case being handled by Judge Patria Manalastas de Leon and was never mentioned in the two other cases.
“Pag-aaralan nang husto ito para tingnan namin kung ano ang epekto nito sa kaso (We will study this thoroughly to determine its effects on the case),” said Atty. Tacardon.
This prompted Judge de Leon to cancel Friday’s arraignment of Senator De Lima.
Her lawyers were given 15 days to submit their comment or opposition to the amendment.
The prosecution was also given the same period to oppose De Lima’s motion praying with the court to reconsider its arrest order.
Judging by these developments, a prosecutor said that the arraignment will have to wait until early next year. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — Authorities arrested 81 Chinese nationals at the Burgundy Corporate Tower along Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City at nine in the evening Tuesday .
The Chinese nationals were arrested for violating Philippine immigration laws.
Based on the mission order from the Ministry of Public Security of China sent to the Chinese embassy in the Philippines, the Bureau of Immigration conducted a manhunt operation against the Chinese fugitives who are facing cyber fraud charges in China.
With the Chinese police and Counter Intelligence Task Force of the Philippine National Police (PNP), authorities raided the 26th floor of the building where the suspects were allegedly working.
Among the arrested was the leader of the group, and several others confirmed to be on the list of fugitives with warrants of arrest in China.
Authorities also arrested other Chinese nationals caught with the fugitives for failing to present legal documents on their immigration status.
“Several names that were provided by the Chinese embassy matched the identities that were also present in that area which is why automatically we apprehended them. The others failed to present any immigration document when they were required to do so,” said Bureau of Immigration Chief of Fugitive Search Unit Bobby Raquepo.
The Chinese nationals were brought to the office of the Bureau of Immigration in Intramuros Manila for further investigation and verification of their immigration status.
They will undergo inquest proceedings for cases in connection with their possible violation of the Philippines’ immigration laws.
The arrested Chinese nationals proven to have violated the country’s criminal laws will also face charges.
The suspects will be detained inside the Bureau of Immigration warden facility at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. — Asher Cadapan| UNTV News & Rescue
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