COA’s role as gaming auditor is only a stop-gap measure, says Pagcor | Inquirer News

COA’s role as gaming auditor is only a stop-gap measure, says Pagcor

/ 01:44 PM August 14, 2023

The Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) followed proper legal procedure before it raided a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (Pogo) firm in Las Piñas City last June 27, according to PNP public information office (PIO) chief Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan. 

POGO HUB Operatives of PNP anti-cybercrime group inspect a gaming room, one of many at an alleged illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators’ facility in Almanza Uno, Las Pinas city on June 27, 2023. Around 2000 workers were ‘rescued.’ 1,525 of them were Filipinos, while the remaining persons came from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Taiwan, among others. (INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ)

MANILA, Philippines — Having Commission on Audit (COA) fill in the role of a third-party auditor for Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) is only a stop-gap measure.

This arrangement goes on until Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) finds the right firm to do the job.


This was the statement given by Pagcor chairperson and chief executive officer Al Tengco during the House Committee on Appropriations’ hearing on Monday.


His remarks were in response to Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda who questioned COA’s designation.

COA was tapped to audit Pogo games after Pagcor terminated the P5.8 billion contract inked by its past administration with consortium Global ComRCI.

The deal was ended because the consortium had allegedly submitted false declarations during the bidding process.

“Tungkol do’n po sa audit, which is provided for under Republic Act Number 11590, hindi nyo pwedeng ibigay sa COA ‘yan because wala kakayahan ang COA to do game fairness, financial fairness, and company operations,” Salceda to Tengco.

(About the audit, which is provided for under Republic Act Number 11590, you cannot give that to COA because it has no capability to do game fairness audit, financial fairness, and company operations.)

“All they can do is to make sure there is integrity in the accounting,” the lawmaker emphasized.


“But in terms of example na hindi dinadaya ang bettor, wala ho silang kakayanan no’n,” he said.

(But in terms of, example, to know whether or not bettors are not cheated, they cannot do that.)

“I agree with you, they are not,” Tengco told Salceda.

“They do not have that capability as you’re talking about,” the Pagcor head confirmed.

“Now, that is also — I wish to answer — a stop-gap measure in the meantime that we’re studying how we can get somebody or a third party again,” he explained.

According to Tengco, COA has assigned a special team to tackle gaming auditing.

The group is separate from the teams that are doing the financial auditing of government agencies.

“COA now has set up a special team, so ‘yon pong team na naka-assign sa Pagcor, hindi po ‘yon ang mag-a-audit,” Tengco clarified.

(COA now has set up a special team, so that team assigned to Pagcor would not do the audit.)

“Meron pong special team na binuo ang COA from the head office. Yan lang po talaga ang susubaybayan,” he explained.

(There is a special team formed by COA from the head office. That is the only thing it would monitor.)

“Ang pinag-aaralan po kasi namin, Congressman Joey, dito ay sino po ba ‘yong tunay na makakaganap sa halagang karapat-dapat at hindi malaki,” the Pagcor chief further said.

(What we are studying there, Congressman Joey, is who can fulfill that duty at the right and inexpensive price),” he added.

In November 2022, several senators raised questions over the auditor hired by Pagcor.

Reports showed then that Global ComRCI failed to meet the qualifications set before a firm could win the P5.8 billion contract.

Tengco recalled the past Pagcor administration required that an auditing firm must have US$25 million in a bank — and in this case, it was Soleil Bank based in New York.

Upon receiving tips, Tengco said they launched an investigation into the matter.

This probe supposedly revealed that Global ComRCI did not have that amount of money with the bank.

“Matapos po ang halos dalawang buwan na pag-iimbestiga ko, nakita po namin na fraudulent po ‘yong pagkaka-award ng Pagcor sa kumpanyang Global ComRCI,” Tengco revealed.

(After two months of my investigation, we saw that Pagcor’s awarding of the project to Global ComRCI was fraudulent.)

“Doon po napag-alaman namin na the bank never issued such certification,” he told legislators.

“We learned that the bank never issued such a certification,” Tengco said.

“The requirement of the bidding is that every participant should be able to show or prove that — through a bank certification — their company, their consortium, their joint venture should have at least US$25 million sa bangko nila (in their bank) during the time of the bidding,” he specified.

Pagcor had sought the opinion of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on whether or not COA could do auditing for Pagcor.

DOJ had told Pagcor that the commission was capable of doing the job.

Aside from this subject, lawmakers also asked Pagcor if it has collected the P2.2 billion receivables from Pogo firms that are doing business in the country.

In response, Tengco said they can no longer go after the Pogo companies since they had supposedly stopped operations and had left the country during the pandemic.


Questions over Pagcor-hired POGO auditor

Gov’t ‘tricked’ by POGO auditor, senators say

P2.2B due from Pogo licensee lost as operator fled amid pandemic – Pagcor

POGOs still owe Pagcor P2.33 billion – COA

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DOJ: COA can audit Pogos’ earnings

TAGS: budget, COA, hearing, House, Pagcor, pogo

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