Sandiganbayan convicts ex-Pagcor chair Genuino of graft
MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chairperson Efraim Genuino has been found guilty of graft by the Sandiganbayan for unlawfully releasing P37.06 million worth of Pagcor funds to an association training Filipino swimmers.
In the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division’s decision dated March 3, Genuino, along with ex-Pagcor president Rafael Francisco and former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William Ramirez were found to have violated Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for allowing the immediate release of funds to the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (Pasa) in 2019.
Pasa was training athletes slated to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. However, Sandiganbayan said that state prosecutors could prove that Genuino and the other convicted respondents acted in manifest partiality in providing Pasa with the funds — as it should have been coursed through the PSC.
According to the anti-graft court, Ramirez wrote a letter to Genuino authorizing Pagcor to deduct from the PSC’s legal monthly income share the amounts due to Pasa — which goes against Section 26 of R.A. No. 6847, which established PSC.
“Plainly, the direct release of a portion of the PSC’s share from PAGCOR to PASA was illegal as it directly contravened the above-quoted provision of the law,” the decision, penned by Third Division chair and Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
Sandiganbayan also noted that defense witness Julia Llanto admitted that no PSC Board Resolution authorized Pagcor to release the funds to PSC directly.
“Llanto likewise confirmed that there was no PSC Board Resolution authorizing Pagcor to directly release a portion of the PSC’s income share from Pagcor to PASA,” it added.
The cases against Genuino were filed by the Office of Ombudsman in 2016, while the former Pagcor chief was arraigned in 2017.
READ: Ex-Pagcor chair Genuino’s graft arraignment reset to August
READ: Ex-Pagcor chair seeks dismissal of graft raps over funds mess
Regarding the charge against Genuino for allegedly using the Pagcor funds to facilitate the swimmers’ training in a facility owned by his family, Sandiganbayan dismissed the case after the prosecution failed to prove Genuino’s links to TRACE Aquatic Center.
Former Pagcor senior vice president Edward King, former executive vice president Rene Figueroa, and former assistant vice president Valente Custodio were cleared from the charges involving this case.
As for Genuino, Francisco, and Ramirez, a penalty of imprisonment from six years and one day to a maximum of 10 years was handed down. All three are also disqualified from public office.
Cases against ex-Pagcor vice president Ester Hernandez and Pasa president Mark Joseph were ordered archived as both remain at large.
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