JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Sunday he was willing to quit his post should President Rodrigo Duterte want him out following the P50-million extortion scandal in the Bureau of Immigration, an agency under his department.
He said he would resign once he felt he had lost Duterte’s trust and confidence over the controversy involving the illegal casino operations of Chinese gaming mogul Jack Lam in Clark Field, Pampanga.
“I have no problem in resigning or being out of the government,” Aguirre said.
“If the President loses even a single bit of trust and confidence in me, I will not insist on clinging on to this position. I will not lose a single night’s sleep if I lose this position.”
But Aguirre said he did nothing wrong in handling the issue on Lam.
“I know that I’m doing the right thing,” he said.
It was Aguirre who led the raid on Lam’s illegal casino at the Fontana Leisure Resort where 1,316 Chinese nationals were arrested on November 24. He was also the one who exposed the attempt of Lam’s camp to bribe government officials to “fix” the irregularities in his casino operations.
He then recommended the dismissal of Immigration Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles who were said to have extorted P50 million from Lam. He praised Duterte for approving his recommendation.
“It’s a good development. It’s a reiteration of his stand and campaign against corruption,” Aguirre said.
Argosino and Robles, who surrendered to the Justice department P30 million of the P50 million last week, have also been charged before the office of the Ombudsman by former police chief superintendent Wally Sombero who supposedly served as Lam’s middleman.
Aguirre has also ordered the dismissal of Immigration intelligence division chief Charles Calima Jr. and technical assistant for intelligence Edward Chan who were also implicated in the extortion controversy.
Argosino and Robles earlier claimed that P18 million from the P50 million went to Calima and was supposed to be given to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente and newspaper columnist Mon Tulfo. P2 million was supposed to go to Sombero as his commission.
Calima, Sombero and Tulfo have all denied the allegations.