Sandiganbayan denies appeal of former BI official to exclude certain evidence

Published July 8, 2020, 11:49 AM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has denied the motion for partial reconsideration filed by former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Deputy Commissioner Al Argosino seeking to exclude certain evidence in his case.


Argosino, together with former BI Commissioner Michael Robles and Asian Gaming 
Service Providers
 Association, Inc. (AGSPA) President Wenceslao Sombero Jr., has been charged due to the reported extortion of P50 million from 1,316 arrested Chinese nationals who were violating Philippine immigration laws back in 2016.

The three of them are facing violation of R.A. 7080, the act defining and penalizing plunder, as well as violations of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code or Bribery, and P.D. 46, which prohibits the giving of gifts to public employees.

Argosino’s motion for partial reconsideration was hinged on Robles’ own motion, which objected to the admissibility of certain evidence on the ground that it was not identified nor affirmed by the person who swore to the affidavit.

However, the anti-graft court cited the Supreme Court ruling in Notarte v. Notarte, which stated “in case of doubt as to the relevance, competence, or admissibility of exhibits offered by a party, it is safer to be liberal, and to admit the same, unless such exhibits are plainly irrelevant, immaterial, or incompetent.”

“Although this Court admitted the questioned exhibits into evidence, it has yet to determine the probative value of the same. If said exhibits later turn out to be irrelevant, immaterial, or incompetent, this Court will simply disregard or ignore them in resolving the present cases,” the resolution read.

The three-page resolution was approved by Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Zaldy Trespeses.