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Ex-Pagcor exec charged over anomalous donation to anti-drug organization

/ 03:35 PM September 12, 2017

State prosecutors have charged a former finance executive of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) for the alleged P120.24-million anomalous donations to Batang Iwas sa Droga Foundation (Bida) from 2005 to 2009.

Estela Ramos, former vice-president of the Pagcor finance and treasury department, was charged with six counts each of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and malversation of public funds before the Sandiganbayan.

Of the total P120.24 million alleged donations, P70,193,899.93 of which was allegedly diverted from March to October 2009 to Bida, a party-list group linked by the Ombudsman to then-chairman Efraim Genuino and other Pagcor executives, for its 2010 election campaign.

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The charge sheet stated that Ramos caused undue injury to Pagcor by signing the check vouchers for Bida’s ad placements “made purportedly for the anti-illegal drugs advocacy under the cloak of Pagcor’s Corporate Social Responsibility Project.”

Instead, the funds were allegedly spent “to further the aspiration of Bida to become a party-list representative at the House of Representatives.”

The other amounts were used to procure goods and services for Bida’s various projects, which prosecutors deemed “anomalous donation/sponsorship” on Pagcor’s part.

The donations were broken down as follows:

– P6,500,000 for the Maligayang Barangay Maagang Pasko 2005 project from October to December 2005;

– P7,650,000 for the Pinakamaligayang Barangay 2006 project from October to December 2006;

– P2,407,000 for the Bida comics project from March to December 2008;

– P12,250,000 for the 2007 Bida caravan from June to August 2008, and;

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– P21,240,930 for the 2009 Grand Bida March from February to March 2009.

The charge sheets, signed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Joseph Licudan, recommended that bail be set at a total of P420,000 for the 12 criminal charges.

The Bida case was one of the alleged irregularities brought by the administration of chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr., against the officials who served under Genuino during the Arroyo administration.

Genuino and other officials were charged with graft and malversation of fund after the state corporation advanced the cost of P26.7-million worth of tickets to Viva Films’ 2008 period drama film Baler. However, about 72,150 of the 89,000 tickets went unused.

Another graft case arose from the allegedly irregular release of P37.06-million Pagcor funds for the training of Olympics swimming competitors in a college that Genuino owns. /jpv

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TAGS: Batang Iwas sa Droga Foundation, Estela Ramos, former vice president, Graft and Corruption, Pagcor
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