International edition
September 24, 2021

1,316 illegal Chinese workers were arrested last month

Justice Secretaty: Jack Lam's online gaming business still cannot operate

Justice Secretaty: Jack Lam's online gaming business still cannot operate
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday clarified the online gambling outlets of Chinese tycoon in his Fontana Leisure Park and Casino in Clark Field, Pampanga could not operate yet as they remained closed as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte
Philippines | 12/28/2016

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday clarified the online gambling outlets of Chinese tycoon in his Fontana Leisure Park and Casino in Clark Field, Pampanga could not operate yet as they remained closed as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

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guirre made the statement after a report that Lam’s Fontana casino may now operate after Malacañang supposedly lifted its closure order.

“The closure order is lifted only for locators of Clark Development Corp. inside Fontana—not for the casino or online gaming there,” Aguirre said in a text message.

“The lifting order was issued by the Palace thru Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea because the closure has already affected over 2,000 Filipino employees of these locators,” he explained.

However, the businesses of Lam, who remains subject of an arrest order issued by the President over his illegal casino business where 1,316 illegal Chinese workers were arrested last month, are not covered by the latest order.

“The closure order remains in effect insofar as the businesses of Lam are concerned,” the Justice Secretary stressed.

Last weekend, thousands of Filipino workers were reported to have returned to work in Fontana last week hoping to get their suspended salaries and Christmas bonuses.

CDC president and chief executive officer Noel Manankil issued last Dec. 6 a cease and desist order on Fontana Development Corp., which operates the Fontana Leisure Estate here, following the arrest by Bureau of Immigration operatives and the police of 1,316 Chinese nationals working illegally in the resort hotel.

President Duterte later ordered the arrest of Fontana owner Jack Lam who, however, had already fled to Macau.

In issuing a CDO on Fontana, CDC said it was merely following a directive from Malacañang, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, ordering an investigation on Fontana’s “illegal or unlicensed gaming operations and employment of aliens without the proper permits in the said premises, in violation of Philippine anti-gambling, labor and immigration laws.”

Of the 1,316 arrested Chinese nationals, a total 592 were granted bail by the BI board of commissioners.

Only 43 of them were charged in DOJ for violation of Presidential Decree 1602 (Illegal Gambling) and Republic Act 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012).

Lam’s businesses even became more controversial after several BI officials were accused of extorting P50 million from his camp.

BI Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, who admitted receiving P30 million from Lam’s camp, have been ordered dismissed from the bureau by the President upon recommendations of Aguirre.

They earlier surrendered the amount, claiming it was supposed to be an evidence in their covert operation to catch corrupt officials in the bureau.

Aguirre also dismissed BI intelligence chief Charles Calima Jr., who received P18 million, along with technical assistant for intelligence Edward Chan.

Calima also surrendered the amount to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and filed plunder charges against Argosino and Robles.

Former police chief superintendent Wally Sombero, who supposedly served as Lam’s middleman, also filed a similar complaint against the two dismissed BI deputy commissioners before the Ombudsman and surrendered the P2 million he reportedly kept as commission.

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