Sombero’s absence and trips abroad questioned in Senate probe

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has resumed its investigation into the alleged P 50-million bribery-extortion case involving online gambling tycoon Jack Lam and former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles.

Retired police official Wenceslao “Wally” Sombero, who allegedly facilitated the transaction with BI officials on behalf of Lam, failed to attend the hearing.

His lawyer, Ted Contacto, said, Sombero is currently in Vancouver, Canada.

Contacto cited Sombero’s alleged “deteriorating health condition” as the reason for his client’s absence.

But at the same time, Sombero’s lawyer read the former police official’s statement in which his client enumerated several business trips he attended abroad recently.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon saw a contradiction.

“He seems to be very active. He talks with Jack Lam and goes abroad,” Gordon noted.

Gordon also berated BI officials who failed to report that Sombero had left for Las Vegas last month, despite a lookout bulletin.

Senator Leila De Lima moved to cite Sombero in contempt for failing to attend the hearings three times.

In response, Gordon said, for humanitarian reason, he would give Contacto a few hours to present a medical certificate from Sombero, which could be sent through a fax machine from Vancouver to the Senate.

Contacto said his client is on his way to an airport as of 9 am PH time.

Gordon is expecting that Sombero can go through a medical check up by an emergency management team in the airport.

In the meantime, the committee is hearing the testimonies of other resource persons.

Also present in the inquiry is Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrea Domingo.


Topics: Senate , Jack Lam , bribery , extortion , BI , Sombero
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