THE Justice Department has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into reports that millions of pesos were paid to Bureau of Immigration employees to allow more than 70 detained Chinese nationals at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga to escape.
“We will leave no stone unturned and there will be no sacred cows. We will hold those found responsible accountable,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Sunday.
The escapees were among 1,316 Chinese nationals who were recently arrested for working in an illegal online casino owned by gaming mogul Jack Lam.
Earlier, Aguirre said reports indicated that BI insiders were offered P100,000 to P250,000 for each released detainee.
Those who got free managed to escape supposedly by jumping over the walls of their temporary detention facility at the Fontana Leisure Park and Casino Hotel. More than half of them were either rearrested or have surrendered.
Aguirre said the detainees would not have been able to escape without the aid of Immigration employees.
“Corruption of any kind has no place in the DoJ family; it has no place in government,” said Aguirre, who exercise administrative supervision over the BI and the NBI.
He said the BI investigation was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s platform to rid government agencies of corruption.
Aguirre earlier said the BI would be the next target in his anti-corruption drive after the Bureau of Corrections, saying the agency has been home to various syndicates involved in corruption.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Lam arrested for economic sabotage and bribery.
Lam, who has been blacklisted, is said to be out of the country, but Aguirre said he could return and continue his businesses provided he settle his tax deficiencies and obtain proper permits from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Earlier, it was reported that the one-stop-shop that handled the undocumented Chinese employees at Fontana was headed by the daughter of Pagcor chairwoman Andrea Domingo, who accused Lam of attempting to bribe her over his unauthorized casino operations in Clark.
Domingo’s daughter Karen Domingo-Gandamra reportedly took the post only a month ago, replacing former BI Angeles City field office chief Janice Christine de Jesus-Corres.
Corres was reportedly implicated in a complaint filed by her staff for alleged irregularities in the approval of working permits and other documents of Chinese workers at Lam’s Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino.