PSC head allowed to travel despite graft charge
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William Ramirez was given the green light to travel to Singapore on official business even as he faces a graft charge over the anomalous disbursement of P37 million Philippine Amusement and Games Corporation (Pagcor) funds.
In a resolution, the Sandiganbayan Third Division granted Ramirez’ motion for leave to travel to Singapore from Oct. 11 to 14 to visit the Singapore Sports Hub, in line with the establishment of the “Olympic City” in Clark Green City for the 2019 South East Asian Games.
Ramirez was invited to visit the Singapore Sports Hub by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
Ramirez in his motion said he being reappointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to the PSC was duly authorized by the President to travel to Singapore.
The court ordered Ramirez to post a P120,000 travel bond, and present himself before the Division Clerk of Court five days after his return on Oct. 14.
“The Court resolves to grant accused permission to travel abroad to Singapore from Oct. 11 to 14 subject to the following terms and conditions,” the resolution read.
Ramirez is a co-accused in the graft cases of former Pagcor chair Efraim Genuino over the anomalous disbursement of P37.063 million Pagcor funds to pay for the training venue of the athletes from the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) who would compete in the Olympics.
Ramirez was charged with two counts of graft for violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act by giving unwarranted benefits to PASA as well as Trace College Inc., Jose Arne Navarra, and Synercraft Control Technologies.
The P37 million directly released to PASA was sourced from the five percent gross income allotment for the PSC from Pagcor funds.
Genuino and the other officials allegedly conspired to give undue advantage to PASA which received P37 million Pagcor funds for the use of the Trace Aquatic Sports Complex (TAC) or the sports facility of Trace College from 2007 to 2009.
Genuino also authorized the release of P9 million to PASA which the latter used to pay Navarra and Synercraft for consultancy services in the maintenance of the timing and computer systems being used by the athletes.
Genuino was also accused with violation of Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law for allegedly having financial interest in the transaction. Genuino allegedly owns Trace College, the venue of which was used by PASA for the training of swimmers.
Earlier, Ramirez was acquitted by the anti-graft court First Division after finding him not liable for the anomalous P2.329-million contract for the supply of sports equipment for cyclists in the 2007 South East Asian Games held in Thailand./rga