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Hot potato

Wally Sombero is back in the country, and has appeared, as of this writing, before the Senate where he was threatened with contempt for skipping several hearings on the fifty million peso bribery scandal involving two associate commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration. He is considered the last piece of the puzzle in this obviously sordid affair, the first corruption scandal in this administration. According to him, he will tell what he can, in light of cases already filed against him. We can expect him to invoke the all too familiar "I invoke my right against self-incrimination, your Honor."

His first bombshell of a revelation was that former Immigration Deputy Commissioner Al Argosino asked for one-hundred million pesos for the release of over 1,300 supposedly illegal Chinese workers working for Jack Lam and his supposedly illegal online gaming operation. But after this revelation, Sombero seemed to switch to defending his character as an expert in the international gambling industry, particularly as president of the Asian Gaming Service Providers Association (AGSPA) which sounds like another name for the online gaming industry. He even stated that he was an "investigative writer focused on the illegal gaming industry." In other words, he was painting himself as "the good guy" in all of this.

Sombero has practically washed his hands of any wrongdoing in the exchange of the fifty million pesos, and that he was in the middle of exposing corruption, simply "liaising" the exchange of money. Several senators have noticed that Sombero was a "smooth, glib talker", which is a nicer way to say he was full of it. It was also revealed that the practice, which Sombero said was an industry norm, of "collecting" passports of foreign workers in the country, was in fact illegal.

So now, with all the significant personalities making their appearance at the Senate, it seems that everyone just wanted to pass the blame to someone else, just like a hot potato, claiming innocence or even crusader-like actions in this scandal. If the Senate investigations are supposed to give a clearer picture of what happened, it only confused everyone. It seems that several groups were conducting investigations and entrapments, without the knowledge of their respective superiors which is supposed to be the correct procedure. These "rogue investigations" only seem to fuel the suspicion that everyone was in on the scandal. There is no official paperwork to back up these investigations, and some that were provided seem to have been produced after the fact. The fact that it took several days for all these personalities to come clean also cast doubts on everyone involved.

I really do not know what will come of this newest Senate investigation, all the personalities involved are already washing their hands. Again, it is up to the courts to make heads or tails of this whole affair, and punish the guilty, if there are any. With big personalities already being absolved left and right, who knows what will happen to this case. What the hearings also revealed was that there are many Lex Talionis members now in government service, specifically the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration.

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