Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday said he had ordered the relief of acting Bureau of Immigration (BI) intelligence chief Charles Calima over his alleged involvement in the extortion from gambling tycoon Jack Lam in exchange for the release of overstaying Chinese nationals.
“Yesterday, I issued a department order relieving or dismissing retired Police Director Charles Calima from Bureau of Immigration,” Aguirre said over radio dzMM.
Calima was appointed to his post by Aguirre.
Aguirre’s order came a day after he recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the termination of two BI assistant commissioners, Al Argosino and Michael Robles, who allegedly extorted P50 million from Lam in exchange for the release of 600 out of 1,316 arrested Chinese nationals working illegally in the country.
Aguirre said he was not able to meet or talk to Calima after he released the relief order.
Argosino and Robles, fraternity brothers of Duterte and Aguirre, denied demanding money from Lam as alleged by Inquirer columnist Mon Tulfo and claimed they accepted it as part of their supposed investigation of corruption in the agency.
The two alleged that Calima asked for P18 million supposedly to pay off Tulfo and Lam’s aide retired police colonel Wally Sombero. They admitted receiving P48 million from Lam last Nov.27, adding that the remaining P2 million went to Sombero as “balato.”
“Right in front of you is the highest evidence of corruption of public officials. The corruption of public officials that was facilitated by no less than Lam, Sombero, the two interpreters and little did you know, the highest intelligence officer of the BI, Calima,” Argosino said in a press conference on Tuesday.
In Tulfo’s column, Calima was mentioned to be present during the payment of the P50 million to the two commissioners. CBB