Jack Lam off hook – plaintiffs not pursuing ‘bribery’ case


Former Associate Commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the Philippines, Al Argosino and Michael Robles, have withdrawn their bribery complaint against local gaming tycoon Jack Lam, media outlets reported this week.
The former Chairman of Jimei International Entertainment Group Ltd. – Lam sold the majority stake of the company in April 2017 – and four of his emissaries were accused of bribing the officials with P50 million (US$985,789/MOP7.93 million), aiming to settle a case involving the illegal hiring of undocumented Chinese workers at Lam’s Fontana Leisure Park and Casino in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, in late 2016.
The former Commissioners have now claimed that the complaint had been based uon “mistaken assumptions or misinterpretation of facts and circumstances,” The Rappler reported.
In a reverse decision following the initial accusations, the country’s Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, presided over by Philippines Senator Richard Gordon, concluded that the incident amounted to “extortion” by the BI officials involved, and not the “bribery and economic sabotage” formerly ascribed to Lam, according to previous reports.
In a verified motion to withdraw the complaint lodged by Lam’s lawyer Raymond Fortun with the Department of Justice on Monday, September 4, Argosino and Robles said they were compelled to retreat because “parties to the instant complaint executed affidavits of recantation and clarification which materially affect the instance case.”
Based upon the plaintiffs’ claim of “mistaken assumptions,” they said they have decided to retreat from “pursuing the instance case, now and in the future,” Interaksyon reported.
The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) shut down the Fontana operation in December 2016. Police raided the premises arresting over a thousand Chinese nationals lacking immigration papers who were working for a call centre-like operation suspected of being a front for online gambling activities.