MANILA, Philippines?Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile on Wednesday dubbed as a ?sweetheart? deal a contract that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) entered into with PhilWeb during the past administration.
At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, newly-appointed Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat disclosed that the contract that authorized the PhilWeb to operate online bets was not only bidded out but was also co-terminus with Pagcor, which is until 2033. The contract was signed in 2008.
?(Until) when is the contract with PhilWeb? Forever?? asked Enrile.
?I think the term... is co-terminus of Pagcor...I think up to 2033,? said Naguiat.
?Oh my God! How lucky can Ongpin be? Was this bidded?? Enrile exclaimed, referring to PhilWeb chairman Roberto Ongpin.
?No your honor, as far as I know, it's not bidded out,? said the Pagcor chairman.
Naguiat even shared Enrile's sentiment when he questioned why the contract was awarded to PhilWeb instead of other entities or persons.
?Why is it that Pagcor did not do it directly? Why the PhilWeb? What is so special about PhilWeb? Because it's Bobby Ongping? Yun lang ba (Is that all)?? said the Senate leader.
Pagcor's corporate secretary and chief legal counsel, Jay Santiago, explained that based on their investigation, the contract was granted to PhilWeb because it had its own ?propriety software or propriety programs? needed to establish the gaming facilities.
But Enrile was not satisfied by the explanation as he urged the leadership of Pagcor to look into the project.
?I hope you'd look into that and make a report to us and find a way to better the share of the government because I think that's a sweetheart deal,? said Enrile.
Pagcor's projected income from the project this year was P1.3 billion.