Former immigration executives Al Argosino and Michael Robles, who both happened to be fraternity brothers of President Rodrigo Duterte, were the first plunder defendants and also the first to get convicted for the crime under this government.
The sixth division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan convicted Argosino, Robles, and Wally Sombero of plunder in the 2016 case, where the officials received a P50-million bribe from casino tycoon Jack Lam. The amount was in exchange for freeing Chinese casino workers who had been detained for being illegal aliens. Sombero acted as their middleman.
The three are among only seven people convicted of plunder since the enactment of the Anti-Plunder Law in 1991. The others were former president Joseph Estrada, a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) cashier named Dominga Manalili, Janet Lim Napoles, and Richard Cambe. The last two were convicted in the Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. pork barrel scam case, where the senator was acquitted. (WATCH: How Revilla got away from the plunder charge?)
Just how hard is it to prove a crime of plunder?
Rappler’s justice reporter Lian Buan talks to former justice undersecretary Jose “JJ” Justiniano, who was a deputized prosecutor in the pork barrel scam cases during the administration of president Benigno Aquino III.
Catch the interview on Friday, July 2, at 11:30 am. – Rappler.com