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Immigration exec denies taking bribe from gambling lord

The Bureau of Immigration building in Intramuros, Manila. Immigration Associate Commissioner Gilbert Repizo said he did not receive any bribe from gambling lord Wang Bo, who was granted temporary release by the agency last month.

MANILA, Philippines — A Bureau of Immigration official denied he accepted bribes in dismissing the deportation of a Chinese gambling lord.

Immigration Associate Commissioner Gilbert Repizo said the decision not to have Wang Bo sent back to China was not his alone.

Repizo clarified he and other commissioners outvoted Immigration Commissioner Siegfried Mison voted for Wang's liberty due to the suspect's letter claiming the Chinese Embassy's request for his deportation was not authenticated.

"Gusto kong bigyang linaw na nang magbotohan d'yan noong Mayo 21, tatlong commissioner ang nagboto na pabor na ipawalang saysay 'yung reklamo (against Wang) sapagkat nakalatag sa aming resolusyon ang mga dahilang kulang ang mga dokumento at hindi authenticated ang mga dokumento," Repizo said in an interview with dzMM on Thursday.

The Department of Justice ordered an investigation into the bureau's move to dismiss on May 26 the deportation order against Wang, who is wanted in his own country amid allegations of corruption.

"Kami po ni Associate Commissioner (Abudullah) Mangotara ay naninindigan na wala naman bagong issue na inire-raise at naninindigan po kami na ang authenticated document ay dapat munang ibigay para malaman naman naming kung ano bang puno't dulo ng kaso ni Wang Bo," Repizo added.

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Wang was subsequently accused of bribing Filipino officials with millions of pesos leading to his foiled deportation. The money was said to have been given as gifts to members of the House of Reprentatives to vote in favor of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and as funds for the Liberal Party's campaign for the 2016 elections.

Wang was under the custody of bureau since his arrest upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino Interntaional Airport from Malaysia in 2010.

The Chinese Embassy coordinated with the National Bureau of Investigation to arrest and place Wang in blacklist for illegal gambling.

Subsequently, BI board issued a summary deportation against Wang. On May 21, however, the order of deportation was dismissed, granting the suspect's release and removing him from the bureau's blacklist.

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