Senate sets own Pagcor probe

A+
A
A-

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Senate on Sunday joined the investigation into bribery allegations hounding past officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

Games and amusements committee chairman Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III  announced  he would investigate the allegations that Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp. had reportedly paid as much as $30 million to a former Pagcor consultant, Rodolfo Soriano, in 2010 allegedly to secure a license to operate a casino in Pagcor’s Entertainment City.

Soriano, said to be close to former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, supposedly received the payments as Universal was lobbying for tax cuts and other government concessions to boost the profitability of a $2-billion casino it is developing in Entertainment City on Manila Bay.

“This is a serious allegation that merits a full-blown investigation by the Senate. Even as the alleged bribery took place during the previous administration, we need to find out the truth as the Aquino administration is determined to adhere to the daang matuwid or straight path,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel noted that Entertainment City was “a big-ticket project of the national government aimed at drawing more tourists to the country. It should not be tainted at all by any hint of impropriety or wrongdoing.”

“We have to salvage the reputation of this big project as well as of the innocent locators therein,” he said.

Pimentel said his committee would issue summonses to Soriano and other former and current Pagcor officials to shed light on the matter.

Matter of national importance

“The investigation is a matter of national importance as we need to plug loopholes in the law that allow under-the-table deals to take place,” Pimentel said.

To date, two committees in the House of Representatives are investigating the alleged bribery in aid of legislation.

The House committee on games and amusement conducted one hearing on Wednesday while the House good government committee is set to revive a probe begun in 2010 on “various multimillion-peso anomalies attending” Pagcor during the Arroyo administration.

The House good government committee investigation was spurred by a resolution filed by party-list Representatives Teodoro Casiño and Neri Colmenares targeting ex-Pagcor chairman Ephraim Genuino, whom they charged with turning the agency into a “milking cow.”

It was Casiño who reminded House good government chairman Rep. Jerry Treñas of the two-year-old resolution that he and Colmenares filed even before the latest bribery charge was reported.

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

  • tata_boy

    may probe na ang tongressmen, ayaw patalo ng mga senatong, may probe din sila, bakit kaya?

    • D_BystandeR

      If the House committee on good government got stuck for two years for some other reasons we do not know, it’s good to try to see what the Senate committee under Koko can do. I have my high trust with this guy. I just hope his committee succeeds in “unearthing” what is supposed to be known so that those with “dirty hands” will be exposed and punished.

    • Francis81

       Pagbigyan mo na, eleksiyon na kasi kailangan ng mga senador ng pera. Itong mga senador na to parang walang kabusugan, ang laki na ng kinita nila nung impeachment ni Corona ngayon gusto pa nilang humataw.

  • nti_boohaya

    “Hoy kapwa kowrahkowt iimbestigahan kita sana handa ka na.  Wag mo akong idawit at hanggang imbestiga lang ako.”  Bosing ikaw ba yan?  Puro probe probe probe e ang tagal ng ipinahayag niyan ni Ted Failon.  Anong ginagawa ng mga intel fund nga mga tongs na yan?  Nangungulekta ng what?  Tong, intel, o all of the above?  Your guess is as good as  mine, kabayan.

  • speedstream2

    One more probe does not matter really. Who’s to know it might get us somewhere this time, like finding out the ever elusive truth?.

  • wawa2172

    Surely the Pagcor Scam is of national importance with Okada’s string of bribery continuous and sting from GMA to Noy Admin. GMA maybe a very unpopular president and Noy is the opposite but it does not mean that the later administration is clean. Guingino, FG and Soriano’s linked to Okada is given but so is with Naguiat, the Pagcor chief and a classmate of Noy. All are not so gentlemen but corrupt and could pull the presidents down. Guinino, FG and Soriano have pulled down GMA to oblivion while Naguiat who received VIP treatment from Okada on his family trip in Macau could embarrass Noy unless cover up will be made by Pemintel who is a K of Noy in LP. It will just be a waste of time kung si Soriano lang ang iimbistigahan dahil alam na natin kung saan hahantong ito. The verdict of the senate with or without concrete evidence: Guilty. With regards to Naguiat, the senate will opt to cover him up because its election time. Most of the senators are running  in 2013 election and wont like to antagonized Noy. So for Naguiat the verdict is: Not guilty (cover up in favor of Noy). Well, even if Nognog Binay becomes president Naguiat will remain untouched. Nognog will need Naguiat expertise to handle the Yakuza like Okada. In Pagcor kung sino ang chief tiyak talo pa ang nanalo sa grand lotto kung kumalimbat nang pera nang bayan. 

  • Albert Einstien

    CANCEL ALL CASINO PROJECTS…pati nga grupo nila stanley nakapasok na rin…dati papasok pa lang DAMI ng komontra ngayon BIGLA LAHAT TUMaHIMiK…bakit kaya?

    DI ba kayo NAGTATAKA….ALL projects of GMA knancel ng pnoy admin..pati mga daan,tulay at FLOOD projects ay at kung ano ano pa..PERO ang ITINIRA lang ni pnoy ang CASINO PROJECT ni GMA…at kahit PA-ULIT -ULIT na SUMSIKAT si NAGUIAT ay HNDI ito NAKAKASUHAN at TINATANGGAL….pero IBANG mga hepe TANGGAL agad sa MEDIA na lang nila nalalaman SIBAK na sila……ano ba ang TOTOONG PAPEL ni NAGUIAT ke pnoy? CANCEL ALL CASINO CONTRACTS..!!!WHO among the MONEYED KKKS is eyeing for for the $billion lucrative
    & strategic landholdings & the LICENSE of OKADA ……that is the QUESTION?………….NAGUIAT & current PAGCOR officers are ALSO involved in the alleged INTERNATIONAL BRIBERY…in FACT by their ADMISSION that money & perks received from okada group an INDUSTRY PRACTICE ” is already INDIRECT BRIBERY ( pagtanggap ng money for GAMING (PANG-SUGAL ) & SHOPPING )…….doj…just secure an autenticated copy of the freeh report to the gaming compliance committee..the alleged report contain the following;”nSeptember 23, 2010: In an e-mail to Ms. Lai, with a copy to Mr. Okada, Mr. Shoji requests that a credit of US 5,000 be extended to each person now staying at the Villa for shopping and gaming, up to a total of US 50,000. According to Mr. Shoji’s email, the funds are to be advanced by Wynn Macau and charged to the Universal City Ledger account. nSeptember 24, 2010 (13:45): MOP 80,00086 (approximately US 10,000) is advanced from the Wynn Macau main cage to a Wynn Macau VIP Services employee (no longer employed at Wynn Macau), who in turn hands the money to Masato Araki, special assistant to president of Aruze USA, based upon instructions in the above referenced e-mail to Ms. Lai. The handover of funds is witnessed by Wynn Encore manager Alex Kong. The funds are charged to the Universal City Ledger Account. MOP 15,000 of this sum is used to pay for a Chanel bag that Chairman Naguiat requested be purchased for his wife. nSeptember 24, 2010 (Approximately 14:00): Mrs. Naguiat, her three children, Mrs. Bangsil and her daughter arrive at Wynn Macau. . MOP 80,000 was worth approximately US 9,816 at that time. Chairman Naguiat’s party] are very important to Universal, and that Mr. Okada wants Mr. Couglan to insure that they are well cared for during their stay.
    nSeptember 24, 2010 (17:00): Mr. Okada meets Chairman Naguiat (and approximately thirteen (13)) others in his party) for dinner at Okada Restaurant.91 Mr. Okada hosts the dinner and the bill for $1,673.07 is charged to his room. nSeptember 25, 2010 (05:45): Wynn Macau employees meet Mr. Okada outside his room and escort him to a limousine, which transports him to the Macau Ferry Terminal for 07:00 scheduled ferry departure to Hong Kong International Airport.nSeptember 25, 2010: Beatrice Yeung describes in her log book “Movements – Incognito (Mr. Naguiat, Cristino L) / Mr. Bangsil, Rogelio / Mr. Opinion, Jeffrey (Mr. Okada’s guests, Villa 81).” nSeptember 25, 2010: Mr. Araki requests a second advance of MOP 80,000 for guests in Villa 81. Ms. Yeung accompanies Mr. Araki to the Main Cage and obtains the advance for him. [This makes a total of MOP 160,000 advanced for the use of Chairman Naguiat and his party and charged to the Universal City Ledger Account per Mr. Okada’s orders, as relayed in Mr. Shoji’s e-mail.] nSeptember 26, 2010 (11:10): Mr. Araki departs the Wynn Macau Encore main entrance. He hands Ms. Yeung MOP 4100, returning what he says is the remainder of the two cash advances for Chairman Naguiat’s party
    nSeptember 26, 2010 (13:15): Chairman Naguiat’s party departs via Wynn Macau limousine to pick up Mrs. Naguiat from shopping and proceeds to the airport..
    [See Appendix]; Wynn Macau “Miscellaneous Disbursement” record #013066, dated September 25, 2010. 95 E-mail from B. Yeung to I. Coughlan, September 27, 2010 [See Appendix]; Wynn Macau Manager – Encore Logbook, September 26, 2010 [See Appendix]; handwritten and signed note dated “9/26/10” with notation “MOP 4.100”. [See Appendix]. The returned funds were equal to approximately US 503.07 returned out of a total of approximately US 19,632 provided. On or about December 10, 2010: After e-mails and phone messages following Mr. Shoji’s September 20, 2010 e-mail, Mr. Coughlan has a phone conversation with Mr. Shoji, in which he advises Mr. Shoji that, after internal Wynn Macau discussions, the final decision was that Wynn Macau would not provide the requested free upgrade for the Villa occupied during the September 2010 visit.
    The foregoing recitation of facts surrounding the September 2010 visit of Chairman Naguiat and his party to Wynn Macau demonstrates several significant elements of that visit:
    nMr. Okada considered these guests to be very important to his company. An effort was made from the outset to conceal Chairman Naguiat’s identity and official status, to the point of not even wanting to advise Wynn Macau management and staff. nWith Mr. Okada’s knowledge, Chairman Naguiat and his family were provided with approximately US 20,000 cash to use for gaming and also shopping nMr. Okada’s representative sought to have Wynn Resorts fund a portion of the expenses incurred by Chairman Naguiat and his party, i.e., the free upgrade to a Villa. There is evidence that Mr. Okada personally directed the payments and gifts provided to Chairman Naguiat and his family during their luxury stay at Wynn Macau’s most expensive accommodation in September 2010. On October 5, 2010, Mr. Araki sent an email to Wynn Macau in order to arrange for a “second group of PAGCOR” checking into Wynn Macau on October 8, 2010..what is DOJ/NBI doing kumuha na ng AUTHENTICATEd copy ng report……..BOUNG MUNDO na ang NAKASAKSI nyan DAHIL nk-POST yan sa internet..(EX-99.2 3 d304177dex992.htm REPORT BY FREEH, SPORKIN & SULLIVAN, LLP TO THE GAMING COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE ) …..hindi na pwedeng PAGTAKPAN yan….ALAM ng BOUNG mundo yan… NO SACRED cows madam doj…you should follow the direction of comelec brilliantes at mmda chairman tolentino… ” NO SACRED COWS “..alamin sino sino ang mga PACOR OFFICERs at mga PAMLYA nila na INVOLVED dito sa alleged bibery…….( byahe ng sept 23 & oct 8 2010 )……HUWAD na DAAN..pag lagi na lang me PROTEKSYON ang mga KKK….dapat ang BATAS pantay para sa lahat…papano na pag di ka KKK? DOJ NBI kilos na…wag na magBULAG-BULAGAN at magnoynoying…IMBISTIGAHAN nyo na rin INTEL, DISCRETIONARY FUNDS…..& other nontaxable receipts…kun saan dinala at kanino napunta….at TINGNAN nyo rin kung me katotohanan.. yung VIDEO REPORT ni taberna….ginagamit na daw for PERSONAL & PRIVATE USE 2 years ang mga sasakyan at empleado ng pagcor…bakit yung NBI chief, bilbid chief, pdea chiefs at pag-asa chief…NEWS pa lang ang ALEGASYON TANGGAL na …ito si NAGIAT paulit-ulit ang KASIKATAN…e matibay pasa madulas na PADER……PAPANO titino ang taong gobyerno at MANINIWALA ang taong bayan kung protektado ang mga kkk ng bawat admnistration?

  • Luiting

    I will be very delighted if former Chairman Ephraim Genuino will be convicted for the allegations that the committee on the Lower House charged him. Yes he turned PAGCOR as “milking cow” as well as family corporation during his regime. 

    I was on the waiting list for a position at PAGCOR.. but at the nick of time for my (every) schedule of training, another applicant backed-up by the above-mentioned Chairman has taken my turn. Eventually his brother who lives at Navotas (whom I met at the main office)  adviced me to present a gift of “sugpo” and “alimasag”. If he tried to asked a mere applicant like me for a bribe.. how much more for big transactions. Huh.. I never came back.. but in my heart I prayed that someday he’ll pay for his misdemeanors.

    • $20733759

      Why do you call a bribe a “misdemeanor” specially if it is somewhere around$30M?

      • Luiting

        I relayed my experience then, (in the past per se). I can’ t consider asking for “alimasag” and “sugpo” as a felony. The $30M is an allegation for Mr. Rodolfo Soriano. Although Mr. Genuino might also be caught in the middle of the investigation.. there’s a separate probe for him.

    • captainramius

      I guess you are still young… but dont lose hope … the best thing is to do the right thing may karma din mga yan….integrity is never negotiable… nilagay dyan sa PAGCOR yong tao na yan para not to manage it… but to collect the share of his Boss .

      • Luiting

        Salamat kabayan, but I’m not young anymore..(lol). And yes I didn’t lose hope after that experience of rejection, thanks God. Tama ka, nagsisimula na actually ang karma nila.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q3QGG5QHBLRMZTIYWUFURY6J2E Night

    buti naman….. si Naguiat marami nakulimbat siguro yan!!!! bagman yata ni Mongolyd Prince yan eh

    • marionics

      he he at least meron kang “siguro” at “yata” pre

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q3QGG5QHBLRMZTIYWUFURY6J2E Night

        ingat ingat sa elibel hahaha

      • marionics

        para bagang “diumano” he he

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JJQWTLMZH3NNIE2IJ46AOZAXAE Hannah Blake

    Yan ang senado, ayaw patatalo sa house of representatives lalo nat malaking halaga ang pinag-uusapan. 2 panels sa house at 1 sa senado, wala ng matitira sa $30M. Paghahatian na nilang lahat! hahaha

  • disqusted0fu

    the senate wants a piece of the pie and try to get more exposure for the upcoming elections.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4GAGU3D2OUBWCKFB3WUWTALDXU Brahman

    check din nila sa hanay ng mga senatong at kengkoygressmen kung sino ang nakinabang din sa mga kasamahan nila sa panibagong nakawan case na to, isama na rin ni mga arroyo sa imbestigasyon.

  • cabcog

    I am not sure if the ombudsman has filed cases on these corrupt officials.  The ombudsman and CoA should be present on all hearings so that we would know if there are already measures taken to prosecute these people.  Its high time that we should convict these people corrupting our society.  

    There should be no room for them in our country except in jail.  Let justice be swift.

  • captainramius

    Jail and convict these persons…. its about time we start doing this …too much corruption in this country

  • Malik62

    The administration of BS Aquino X3 and his allies are notorious for selective justice.  Why investigate only past officials? Why not investigate Naguiat also? Obviously Koko Pimentel is hoping that using an anti-GMA sentiments  as a campaign strategy would help him win the senatorial race. Good luck!

  • by_the_square

    I hope the obsevation of Sen. Pimentel will not end up as sort of moro-moro. Nowadays what plays most is money. Everyone has a price so to speak.

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