Genuino charged over P258-M coffee overprice




Three former officials of the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and its coffee supplier may be having sleepless nights these days.

A year after President Benigno Aquino dropped his bombshell on the agency’s P258-million bill for coffee, Pagcor filed a plunder and graft complaint against its former chairman Efraim Genuino.

Also named in the complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman Tuesday were Rafael Francisco and Rene Figueroa, former Pagcor president and senior vice president, respectively, and Carlota Cristi Manalo-Tan, the owner of Promolabels Inc., the  former Pagcor coffee supplier.

Manalo-Tan is the wife of Johnny Tan, a “known ally” of Genuino and the second nominee of the Bida party-list group  identified with the former Pagcor chief.

In the complaint filed by present directors Jose Tanjuatco and Enriquito Nuguid, Pagcor alleged that Genuino and his officials entered into concession agreements with Promolabels from 2001 to 2010, and in the process, enriched themselves by purchasing overpriced Figaro coffee products.

The beverage was provided free to customers of state-run casinos.

Pagcor said that from 2005 to 2008, five Casino Filipino branches paid Promolabels P258 million for coffee products.

74-percent overprice

The products were overpriced by 9 percent to 74 percent, contrary to the agreement that the prices of Promolabels’ products would be similar to mall prices.

“For the year 2005 to 2008 alone, Pagcor could have saved at least P78 million if only the prices of Promolabels’ Figaro coffee products were the same as those of other Figaro franchisees,” Pagcor said in its complaint.

Pagcor said Genuino, Francisco and Figueroa had been repeatedly informed about the losses that Casino Filipino branches were incurring because of the Promolabels transactions, but they did not do anything about it.

“They refused or otherwise failed to act to stem or prevent further losses,” the complaint said.


Speaking through his lawyer Ramon Esguerra, Genuino belied the claim of the current Pagcor management that casino players had been given free coffee.

“This is another case of persecution in so far as the allies of former President (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) are concerned,” Esguerra quoted the former Pagcor chairman as saying.

Esguerra surmised that the case was filed in time for President Benigno Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 23.

“Remember that they tried to build this case as early as last year and yet, they are filing it only now,” the lawyer said. “They are just reviving this issue.”

Total of P1 billion

Mr.  Aquino disclosed in his Sona last year that Pagcor had spent P1 billion for coffee during the Arroyo administration. He joked that former officials of the gaming firm might not have been able to sleep because of the copious amounts of the stimulant they must have drunk.

Pagcor legal chief Jay Santiago told reporters that the Promolabels contracts were part of the P1 billion spent for coffee by the previous Pagcor administration, and that the latter had hired other concessionaires in the past years.

But the current Pagcor administration decided to file the complaint over the Promolabels contract first to make an example of it, Santiago said.

He said that if Pagcor had waited until the review and documentation of the entire P1-billion coffee expenses were completed, it would be unable to file the complaint until several years from now.

But he added that the review of the other coffee deals was still ongoing, and Pagcor would file cases in the future, if necessary.

Santiago said the complaint for the coffee deals was filed only yesterday, a year after the President disclosed the expenses, because the agency’s auditors had to pore over a decade’s worth of documents.

“What’s important is that we have filed it and we have completed the filing,” he said.


Santiago added that it was just a coincidence that the complaint was filed a few days before Mr. Aquino’s next Sona.

Pagcor said the board led by Genuino approved the proposal of Figaro Coffee Co. to set up kiosks in Casino Filipino branches on May 16, 2001. The prices of its beverages should be the same as those of similar beverages sold in malls.

Pagcor then gave Promolabels, a Figaro franchisee, concession agreements in seven Casino Filipino branches. Carlota Tan signed the concession agreements for Promolabels.

No bidding, SEC registration

Pagcor said Promolabels’ seven contracts had given it a virtual monopoly of the coffee served in Casino Filipino branches.

But it found that the contracts were awarded without the required public bidding. Promolabels’ three-and five-year contracts were extended and renewed without any public bidding as well, it added.

Pagcor also learned that Promolabels was not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, contrary to what was stated in its Pagcor contract.

COA findings

Pagcor said that as early as 2006, the Commission on Audit (COA) had raised concerns about the validity and implementation of the concession agreements with Promolabels and pointed out that a public bidding should have been conducted as required by the procurement law.

The audit reports also found disparities between the prices of Promolabels’ Figaro products and those of other Figaro franchisees, including an overprice of up to 74 percent.

The audit reports said that Pagcor could have saved a lot of money had Promolabels prices been similar to those of other Figaro shops outside Casino Filipino.

Despite these reports, Pagcor said its former officials did not demand that Promolabels lower its prices. They even went out of their way to justify Promolabels’ higher prices, it added.

The explanations were issued just a few days after the audit reports, indicating that the former officials did not even bother to conduct a thorough review of Promolabel’s reasons, it further said.

Yearly increases

Pagcor said Figueroa even allowed Promolabels to increase its prices a year later.

By doing all this, the former Pagcor officials “caused undue injury to the government and gave Manalo-Tan unwarranted benefits, advantages and preferences,” Pagcor said.

In a statement, Carlota Tan welcomed the filing of the case against her, saying “this will provide us the chance and opportunities to present all the facts and necessary evidence that the court will require from us.”

“Although this will be the first time that a mere concessionaire is being charged with plunder, we firmly believe that in the end, the current judicial system will allow us to prove our innocence,” she said.

Pagcor, meanwhile, is now spending less for coffee, according to Santiago.

The prices of the coffee that it now serves for free to casino customers range from P9.36 to P14.99 per cup. With a report from Marlon Ramos

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Political Jaywalker

    Just because they bought and paid for Billion of peso worth of coffee, it does not follow that the public will buy their persecution tattle tale, hehehe.

    • $25214711

      Wala daw bidding na naganap. In my opinion, this guy is full of “it”. Pero dapat yung sa tubig malaman din ng bayan.

  • Flavio

    Another casualty of the crooked Arroyo regime ….

  • Nic Legaspi

    A graft case for coffee. But for water, nothing.

    • twitgurl

      eh member ng KKK.. pano kakasuhan? mas matimbang dw ang coffee kesa sa water haha.. panakip butas

    • Franzeline Perdubal

      Malacanang should be fair enough to fire its own erring people. 

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    Yung incumbent PAGCOR Chief dapat kasuhan din pati na yung sangkot sa suhulan nangyari ng bilyonaryo hapon at pati na ang dayaan nangyari sa casino na natalo ang casino ng 180 milyon pesos sa isang gabi at may kasabwat na opisyal ng pagcor na ngayon ay tinatamasa ang retirement benefits niya……Yung hepe ay binigyan pa ng espesyal na position ang taong ito imbes na masibak sa trabaho……….ang daang matuwid pnoy mukha may bako bako at lumiliko……

  • brunogiordano

    “Santiago added that it was just a coincidence that the complaint was filed a few days before Mr. Aquino’s next Sona.”

    OK lang sa amin kahit BY DESIGN sinadyang i-file ito ilang araw bago ang SONA.

    SUBALIT huwag na sanang maghintay hangang sa susunod na SONA bago ilabas ang GUILTY VERDICT.

    kung ilang araw BAGO mag-PASKO ilalabas ang GUILTY VERDICT ito ay magbibigay ligaya sa amin.

    • ApoLapullapu

      Papaano makapagpalabas nga guilty verdict?  Ni hindi ipinakita ang resolution ng Ombudsman beka makikita  ang mga butas na kasindami ng lambat ng galunggong..

  • Jose EJ Flores

    It’s about time.

  • Franzeline Perdubal

    If you are innocent, everybody will protect you. If you are guilty, you protect yourself from everybody.

    Mr Genuino, everybody knows that PAGCOR was the shameless government agency during the  time of Fake and corrupt President GMA. Now, better get a very good lawyer ’cause a PLUNDER case is not a joke.

  • twitgurl

    Kape lang daw yung pwede kasuhan kasi hindi KKK at kay gloria dw yun.. pero yung anomalya sa mineral water at yung suhulan nila NAGUIAT na member KKK hnd daw pwede kasuhan.. yan ang anti-corruption ng budoy admin..

  • Nueva

    charge naguiat at lahat ng sinasabi ni ted failon please

  • poltergeist_fuhrer


    sobrang hipokrito ng admin na ito

    • barnny

      antay nalang sa susunod na pres para tingnan kong ano man ang nagawang katiwalian at cila naman ang kakasuhan

      • poltergeist_fuhrer


        that horsesheyt KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK??????

  • kilabot

    like mother, like son. cory also filed cases left and right against marcos’ family and cronies. they were all acquitted. just recently, jpe and danding were cleared by sc in the cocolevy funds case. no substantial ill-gotten wealth has been recovered. with noykapon’s team of lesser legal minds, it’s doubtful he can outperform his mother.
    fact is, the former marcos cronies and the current aquino/cojuangco favorites together control philippine economy.

    • brunogiordano

      “…filed cases left and right against marcos’ family and cronies. they were all acquitted. just recently, jpe and danding were cleared by sc in the cocolevy funds case. 

      puro mga pangapero, pipitsugi at mga kawatan din ang mga isinabak nila kila MARCOS, ENRILE at DANDING. at alam ng lahat na mabibigat at matatalino ang mga ito at kung gumawa man ng kabulastugan? ay suabe.

      samantalang ang OMBUDSMAN ngayon ay hindi tulad ni MERCY. kung si CORONA ay taob sa kasalukuyan OMBUDSMAN, ang mga nasasakdal ng plunders ngayon ay putong puto maipapakulong ng habang buhay. ang pagkakasagawa nila ng mga kabulastugan ay garapalan at very OBVIOUS kahit patay gutom na abogado ay kayang ipanalo ang mga kaso laban sa kanila..

      sama ako ng sampo na lahat ay kulong.

  • isagani_maverick77

    “THEY SHOULD WALK THEIR TALK….Accuse, Prosecute and Convict!!! Tama na ang paputian sa asukal at paitiman ng budhi sa kape…. to name a few of all graft and corruption charges…may  napa-enroll na ba sa bilibid? then we ask and say….why Most Filipinos- Living POOR?!!!”huhhhh…tsk..tsk…tsk

  • Crysis_III

    Grabe yung Arroyo regime grabe ang corruption…

  • doublecross

    naku…isa  pa etong mangdarambong, i-convict na’t makulong. nakakahiya ang mga tropa ni President(daw) Gloria,  sobrang swupang sa pera, NASAANM ang CONSCIENCE ninyo!

  • cora_s54

    mga high class stealers talaga, meron pinag-aralan pero magnanakaw, mga walang knosensiya puro pagmamahal sa pera…sana makulong kayo! Hindi talaga natutulog ang Diyos at tapos na ang aliligayang araw ninyo!

    • Allan

      Amen! Sana po maging isa na namang halibawa ito na ang pagnanakaw ay hindi “option” ng isang nanunungkulan upang magpayaman.

  • Renato_SUPOT_Pacifico

    Prosecute, Convict, Jail and Sequester the ill gotten wealth !

    Yung ninakaw dapat ibalik sa kaban ng bayan!

    Hindi dapat pinakikinabangan ni Efraim C. Genuino at ang kayang alipores ang para kay Juan dela Cruz. This does not stop at a guilty verdict. Plunderers and their families have no right to enjoy what they stole form the country.

  • ApoLapullapu

    In the previous administration PAGCOR allegedly bought overpriced coffee.  According to a COA report, under the present administration PAGCOR bought millions worth of bottled water without bidding.  Can you spot the difference?

  • malek_abdul

    Filing of plunder and graft case should not stop here.I want a verdict may it be “guilty” or “not guilty”. Am willing to donate a wheel chair for Efraim Genuino just to keep the trial going. Baka kasi magkasakit si Genuino tapos ma-postpone na naman ang hearing…

  • noel

    figarro coffee pa…………..branded at libre pa hehehehe di pa puede sana ordinaryong coffee lang ………………simple pero rock ang pagnanakaw……………hehehehehe

  • Guest

    MALL PRICES!!! sa stipulation pa lang na ito sa kontrata —– na MALL prices ang pagbabasehan —– sobra sobra sobra sobra na ang overpricing at kickback ng mga lol-u na to! napaka walangya talaga ng mga taong ito, mga alagad ni mike at gloria arroyo. dapat sa mga to, i-firing squad tapos pugutan ng ulo tapos hati-hatiin ang katawan at itapon sa dagat. parang ginawa kay osama bin laden……………..

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos