Pagcor remittances to Palace questioned

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Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (Pagcor) remittances to the Office of the President’s social fund was questioned by lawmakers on the second day of deliberations on the proposed P2.268 trillion national budget for 2014.

Told that the gaming agency was to hand over some P2 billion to the Office of the President’s social fund, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares asked Pagcor president and CEO Jorge Sarmiento whether the President had sole discretion over how the said funding was to be used.

Pagcor was mandated to give 50 percent of its income to the national treasury but Pagcor lawyer Jay Daniel Santiago said that the said social fund was separate from this remittance.

“Are there guidelines on how this would be spent? This is P2.28 billion for 2012,” said Colmenares.

Santiago replied that the portion of Pagcor’s income given to the Office of the President was “for its disposition in line with their infrastructure and socio-civic projects.”

“The basis for the allocation for the social fund comes from a Presidential Decree, the original Charter of Pagcor, which states that in addition to the 50 percent there may be certain allocation for the government derived from Pagcor’s gross earnings to fund infrastructure and socio-civic projects,” he said.

Pagcor said it expects around P2 billion to P2.4 billion or P2.5 billion of its earnings to be handed over to the Office of the President’s social fund.

Asked by Colmenares whether the gaming corporation had other “lump sum funds” being given to the Office of the President, Sarmiento maintained no other funding was given by Pagcor aside from its remittances to the national treasury and the said social fund.

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