COA orders Genuino, 8 others to return P26.7M
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair and chief executive officer Efraim Genuino and eight other former Pagcor officials to return to the government some P26.7 million that they spent to purchase 89,000 tickets for the movie “Baler” in 2008.
A 16-page decision signed by COA Chair Ma. Gracia Pulido Tan and Commissioners Heidi Mendoza and Rowena Guanzon disallowed the use of Pagcor funds for this purpose.
Also held liable were former Pagcor board directors Rafael Francisco, Manuel Roxas, Philip Lo and Gamaliel Cordoba; former senior vice president Rene Figueroa; former accounting department vice president Ester Hernandez; former finance and treasury department vice president Estela Ramos, and former assistant vice president Pedro Michael Cendaña IV.
Only former Pagcor vice president for corporate communications Edward King was cleared of liability after he was able to prove his non-participation in the act. King presented proof that he was abroad two days before the request for payment dated Dec. 22, 2008, was signed in favor of Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA) Foundation Inc.
The COA decision, approved on Nov. 20, 2013, by the COA chair and the two commissioners was released only on Dec. 15. It upheld the Sept. 28, 2012, findings of COA Corporate Government Sector-C on the illegal use of such funds.
The purchased tickets were supposedly distributed to 12 Pagcor casino branches whose remittances were reportedly made payable to BIDA Foundation.
The COA said the transaction was null and void based on the Pagcor charter, which prohibits the use of such funds for such activity.
The COA stressed it was authorized to review transactions of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), including all of Pagcor’s “accounts pertaining to revenues, receipts, expenditures and uses of government funds and properties” which are subject to general audit jurisdiction.
The respondents had questioned the COA’s authority to review the transactions and sought a reversal of the COA Corporate Government Sector-C 2012 ruling, claiming that it was a valid expense that was beyond the COA’s jurisdiction.
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