Graft charges vs ex-Pagcor officials filed
A total of 39 counts of graft and malversation were filed in the Sandiganbayan against former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) Chairman Efraim Genuino and six other former officers of the agency.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found “probable cause” to indict the accused on 19 counts of violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and 20 counts of malversation.
Charged with Genuino, were former Pagcor officers Rafael Francisco, Jose Benedicto, Rene Figueroa, Edward King, Ester Hernandez and Valente Custodio.
The court set bail of P30,000 for each count of graft and P60,000 for each count of malversation, or a total of P1.71 million for all the accused.
The complaints will be raffled off on Friday to determine which division of the antigraft court will handle the cases.
Genuino, Francisco, Benedicto, Figueroa, King, Hernandez and Custodio were slapped with one count of malversation and another count of graft arising from the promotion of the film “Baler,” a movie production deal between Viva Communications and Batas Iwas Droga Foundation (Bida).
The Joint Review Resolution signed by the Ombudsman said the government was made to shoulder the business losses when Pagcor advanced the cost for 89,000 movie tickets priced at P300 each, for a total of P26.7 million.
This arrangement, it said, was contrary to the deal approved by Pagcor to merely offer “Baler” movie tickets to casino patrons through the Player Tracking System points, the Ombudsman said.
Accordingly, only 7,791 tickets were bought by casino patrons while 6,253 tickets were sold to the public. Around 2,806 tickets were sold to employees, leaving 72,150 unused tickets worth P21.645 million, plus the transmitted sales commission of P474,510, for a total of P22,119,510 representing marketing expenses that were charged to Pagcor’s operating expense fund. This was on top of the advertising expense of P2.064 million.
The resolution noted that all relevant documents were processed in just one day while the payment check was released the following day.—Cynthia D. Balana
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.