Justice Secretary Vitialiano Aguirre said sorry to Senator Francis Pangilinan for having said that he was among the three senators who wanted to pin down him down in the bribery case against Macau-based business tycoon Jack Lam.
“Senator Kiko Pangilinan is not involved in the plot. I apologize to the senator for any blemish done to his reputation,” he told the lawmaker during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Tuesday morning.
The Committee is contunuing its investigation into the P 50-million bribery scandal involving former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles.
Retired Police Senior Superintendent Wally Sombero had allegedly attempted to bribe Aguirre, on behalf of Lam, in exchange for the release of the tycoon’s 1,316 workers, who were arrested for illegally working at Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino in Clark, Pampanga.
In the hearing, Aguirre also provided details about his meeting with Lam, his two interpreters, Sombero and Argosino in the afternoon of November 26, 2016 at Shangri-la at the Fort.
Aguirre said, he never gave Argosino any go signal to accept the bribe offer.
“There was no instruction from me to go ahead with the illegal activity,” Aguirre stressed.
He said, if he had really told Argosino “ikaw na ang bahala (you take charge)" as alleged and that he had supposedly left Argosino with Sombero, it may have only meant that he wanted to already leave the meeting as he was in a hurry to attend an awarding ceremony in the same venue.
“Senator Antonio Trillanes was asking, 'why did Argosino asked P 100 million (bribe) from Sombero?' I am completely ignorant of the P 100 million. Why would Sombero give Argosino P 50 million? He should ask Argosino.”
The Senate is on its second hearing into the bribery scandal.
Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon is presiding over the probe.
Shown during the hearing were videos of how Argosino and Robles had apparently accepted five bags of cash money worth P 50 million from Sombero in a separate overnight meeting on November 26, 2016.
Columnist Mon Tulfo and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran are also testifying in the Senate proceeding.