A senator and a representative have asked the Department of Justice to explain why the three children of former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chairman Efraim Genuino were dropped from the plunder, corruption and malversation charges the DOJ filed in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the “vanishing act” of the Genuino siblings—Erwin, Sheryl and Anthony—left more questions than answers, considering that they were said to be the main beneficiaries of their father’s alleged illicit use of Pagcor funds.
“I have been hearing about this so-called Mafia from my own sources. Secretary Leila de Lima should throw the book at these people who are out to derail the anticorruption efforts of this administration,” said Pangilinan in a text message.
In a phone interview, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño said he found it “curious” that the DOJ should drop the Genuino children, who were named in the original complaint lodged by the current Pagcor management in September against their father and some associates, from the charges.
“Why were these supposed beneficiaries of plunder and malversation of public funds not included in the case? In fact it was precisely because the beneficiaries of the transactions were Genuino’s children that made the transactions anomalous,” said Casiño.
In July 2011, Pagcor filed plunder charges against Genuino and 40 others, including Erwin and Sheryl, for allegedly misappropriating at least P186 million of the state-run casino’s funds for Genuino’s party-list group, Bida Foundation, from 2003 to 2010.
Pagcor followed this up with charges of malversation and graft against Genuino and five others, including Erwin, for using P26.7 million of Pagcor’s money to produce the movie “Baler” in 2008, the proceeds of which were to go to Bida Foundation; and malversation charges against Genuino and several others, including Erwin and Anthony, for allegedly misappropriating P1.4 million worth of rice donated for typhoon victims in the country.
The rice donations were instead used to bolster the campaign of Anthony and Erwin who ran for mayor of Los Baños, Laguna, and Makati City, respectively, in 2010. Anthony won but Erwin lost.
The DOJ said the charges against Erwin, Sheryl and Anthony Genuino were dropped due to lack of evidence, without offering any explanation.
Assistant State Prosecutor Edna Valenzuela, head of the DOJ panel handling the case, did not reply to the Inquirer’s queries.
Casiño said Pagcor legal counsel Jay Santiago was himself surprised the Genuino children were dropped from the plunder charges.
“Why did the DOJ tinker with the case and drop the Genuino children? If the cases filed by Pagcor were weak, why was the DOJ not able to build up the cases since they were with them for one whole year?” said Casiño.