Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Wenceslao "Wally" Sombero, the alleged middleman of Chinese casino tycoon Jack Lam in the Bureau of Immigration bribery-corruption case, has surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday, April 11.
Sombero surrendered for booking procedures inside Camp Crame in the presence of incoming police chief and Metro Manila top cop Director Oscar Albayalde, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Director Roel Obusan.
According to Albayalde, Sombero sent surrender feelers on the same day the Sandiganbayan released the arrest order against him. Obusan said the feelers were coursed through two retired senior PNP officials.
Why surrender? Sombero, who formerly served as a police colonel in the PNP, is facing plunder charges for his alleged involvement in the bribery of two former deputy immigration commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles.
Argosino and Robles accepted P50 million from Sombero's supposed boss Jack Lam, in exchange for releasing 1,316 undocumented Chinese nationals nabbed in a November 2016 online gambling operation raid in Clark, Pampanga.
In their defense, the former immigration officials had claimed they took the money for safekeeping, supposedly with the plan of eventually using it as evidence as they probed the illegal gambling operation.
The Ombudsman rejected their alibi, however, pointing out that Argosino and Robles took 10 days to report to the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Justice about the delivery of P50 million. (READ: Macau's top gambling tycoon: Who is Jack Lam?)
What happens next? After his booking procedures, Sombero left Camp Crame to attend the Sandiganbayan hearing on his motion to dismiss the cases filed against him.
LOOK: Wally Sombero now finished with booking procedures in Camp Crame. He’s on his way to Sandiganbayan. pic.twitter.com/HZWAsMja8Q — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) April 11, 2018
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.