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Missing P1000 from Jack Lam's Bribery Still Remains A Mystery

President Duterte is very vocal about putting an end to graft and corruption. Stringent policies have been rolled out to ensure that government agencies do not cross the line. However, it appears that the case of the missing P1000 bill only proves that justice can be selective at times. Why is everyone making a fuss over the missing P1000? 

Section 12 of Republic Act No. 7659 defines plunder as "Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof in the aggregate amount or total value of at least Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State."

If you could still remember, Jack Lam, a Chinese tycoon offered bribe money with the amount of P50 million. However, a recent investigation revealed that the money was P1000 short. With the funds having a total of P49,999,000, the case of plunder filed against Jack Lam will not prosper. Two former commissioners from the Bureau of Immigration, who happened to be the fraternity brothers of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and President Rodrigo Duterte may have skirted the P1000 bill to manipulate the consistency of evidence. 

The issue was brought up during the Senate deliberations on the proposed P17.43 billion budget of the Department of Justice. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon wanted to know the status of the P50 million bribe money and also the status of the two former commissioners, Al Argosino and Michael Robles. 

Although the two were already sacked, the missing P1000 stirred controversy considering the fact that Aguirre denies participation in the counting of bribe money. He even claimed that there was a CCTV when the counting happened. Some members of the committee thought at first that the missing bill was a joke. Due to losing the P1000, the plunder case will likely be reduced to charges with lower penalties.