Ex-Pagcor Genuino’s bid for justices to inhibit denied
The Sandiganbayan has denied the plea by former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chair Efraim Genuino for the inhibition of the court’s Third Division from handling his graft and malversation cases over the purchase of tickets worth P26.7 million for the movie “Baler.”
In a 26-page resolution dated July 20, the court’s Third Division itself said Genuino failed to show proof that its members were “indicative of arbitrariness” after he reasoned out that it was the same division that found him guilty of earlier charges of graft and malversation.
The previous case involved the alleged misuse of P37 million worth of funds for the training of swimmers for the 2012 London Olympics. He, along with former Pagcor president and chief executive officer Rafael Francisco and former Philippine Sports Commission chairperson William Ramirez, were convicted of graft and malversation.
The present case, on the other hand, allegedly involved Genuino’s supposed misuse of P26.7 million to purchase 89,000 tickets for the movie “Baler,” which were distributed to 12 Pagcor casino branches.
State auditors, however, found that the funds were reportedly made payable to the Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA) Foundation Inc.
In his motion, Genuino sought the inhibition of the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division, which includes Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, the division chair, and Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno.
Genuino cited as a reason that it was the Third Division who found him guilty on his previous graft charges.
The court, however, was not satisfied with his arguments.
“The court is unpersuaded,” it said in the resolution penned by Tang. “Again, jurisprudence provides that mere imputation of bias or partiality is not enough ground for inhibition; mere suspicion is not enough.”
Fernandez and Moreno also concurred with the resolution.