Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday hinted that he might not press charges against retired Chief Superintendent Wally Sombero and gaming tycoon Jack Lam for allegedly attempting to bribe him during a recent meeting at a hotel in Bonifacio Global.
The DoJ chief bared that Lam, through Sombero, requested the meeting to discuss the arrest of some 1,316 Chinese nationals nabbed for illegally working at Lam’s Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Pampanga.
Aguirre said Sombero may have made a bribe try for telling him that Lam is in need of a “godfather” (ninong) and asked if he could serve as that godfather.
But he stressed that filing charges against Sombero might not prosper without any concrete evidence.
“It’s very hard nga. You cannot prosecute if only on the basis of that. Mahirap. Perception ko lang yun eh. Before you can be accused, there must be an overt act of bribery,” Aguirre said.
He also clarified that no money or gift was mentioned in exchange for the request.
But Aguirre pointed out that Fontana should be investigated by the appropriate government agencies for possible violations of its franchise to operate, for allowing illegal online gambling operations in its property.
The justice chief also ordered an investigation into the reported “escape” of some 70 of the arrested Chinese nationals under immigration custody, and believes some immigration personnel were in cahoots with the “escapees.” He suspects a syndicate was behind the “escape.”