2 senators defend Pagcor chairman | Inquirer News

2 senators defend Pagcor chairman

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 01:09 PM February 27, 2012

Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – At least two senators on Monday came to the defense of beleaguered Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) chairman Cristino Naguiat, with one saying there was no “clear case of bribery” when he accepted free accommodations in Macau from a Japanese businessman in 2010.

“Kung binibigay sa kanya na libre naman ang room, at papunta sya dun, ano naman ang masama dun? Pero pag sinolicit yung room, ibang usapan na yun [If the room is free and was offered to him then what’s wrong with it? But if he solicited it, that’s another issue],” said Senator Aquilino Pimentel III., who heads the committee on games and amusement.


“If he’s there to visit Macau and he paid for his plane ticket, what’s wrong with it? I think many of us have also experienced being given free accommodations and even free meals,” he said in mixed Tagalog and English.


“That’s why this is not a clear case of bribery though I have yet to check whether he has violated any provision of the law,” Pimentel added.

If it was indeed a bribe attempt, then the senator asked how Naguiat would personally benefit from   Kazuo Okada, the Japanese businessman who gave him  free accommodations in Macau.

Okada owns the Universal Entertainment Group in the Philippines, one of four gambling firms granted provisional license by Pagcor in 2008 or two years before n Naguiat assumed office, to develop the agency’s Entertainment City in Pasay.

“Ang tanong, kung konektado? May hinihingin ba sa kanya as a regulator? Binigay nya ba? [The question is: Was it connected (to the contract)? Is there a favor asked of him as a regulator? Did he give it?]” asked Pimentel.

“Definitely yung trip sa Macau is not in exchange or a reward for the Okada contract. Why should he be rewarded for the Okada contract [if the license was already granted by Pagcor in 2008]?” he further asked.

Besides, Pimentel said Naguiat could not be charged in the United States for allegedly accepting bribe offer if indeed true since the American law only covers those involving American companies.


As chairman of the committee on games and amusement, Pimentel was not also keen on conducting a separate investigation on the matter, citing a separate investigation in the House of Representatives, which is scheduled to start later on Monday.

Pimentel though admitted that he already drafted a resolution for a possible probe of his committee but said he would not pursue it if the questions will already be answered in the House investigation.

Senator Gregorio Honasan was also lukewarm of conducting a separate investigation on the issue, saying the Senate has so much on its plates.

“Ang dami naming legislative work. We should determine our national order of priorities. We have so much to attend to,” said Honasan in a separate interview.

Honasan echoed President Benigno Aquino III’s statement that Naguiat should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“We should first determine whether the chairman has benefited personally from this trip? Baka naman ang bansa natin ang makikinabang so why fault him for it?” said the senator.

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“Personally, kumita ba sya ng pera ? Tumanggap ng kotse for personal use? Until those questions are answered, it’s premature to make a judgment,” Honasan said.

TAGS: bribery, Pagcor, Politics

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