PAGCOR’s Chairman and 9 Other Members Face Serious Allegations over the Missing Money

PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) is one more time in the middle of the scandal, which occurred when its chairman and nine other members were accused of graft. 

The missing money:

The Office of the Ombudsman received complaints about the disappearance of P75 million that an e-sabong company placed as the performance bond for issuing the license for e-sabong. 

Among the ones who are allegedly accused of various malversations, including messing with the public funds, qualified theft, and the falsification of private and commercial documents, were Alejandro Tengco, a Chairman of PAGCOR, along with Dianne Erica Jogno, the chief of staff, the former chief Andrea Domingo, as well as Gabriel Claudio, Carmen Pedrosa, Reynaldo Concordia, and James Patrick Bondoc, former board members.

The case was filed by Joaquin Sy, Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings Inc.’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Finance Officer, with respondents Jewel Castro and his parents, Rizalina and Simplicio Castro, who were under suspicion in the case.

In the complaint, it is written that Tengco and Jogno violated the law by “their deliberate concealment of the crimes and unjustified refusal to respond to the letters of the complainant within the period prescribed (by the law).”

The goal and possible punishment:

Sy wants P75 million in checks to be returned to Kamura. He placed the bond in PAGCOR’s office in Manila and posted two checks from his personal bank accounts, after which he received official receipts from PAGCOR, along with other required documents. Shortly after that, Rodrigo Duterte, the president, canceled the e-sabong operations, and Sy never received the money he had placed, even after a few requests.

PhilStar reports that Lolita Gonzales, PAGCOR’s assistant vice president from finance, claimed that the check was issued and encashed shortly after that.

Sy issued the statement, saying: “Government accounting procedures strictly require that the original copy of the receipts must be surrendered before the withdrawal of the bond is allowed. The illegal release of the cash performance bond to Castro was made during the incumbency of Domingo and the old board sometime in September 2022, according to Gonzales.”

According to the General Appropriation Act and other laws, all performance bonds must be returned to the ones who placed them.

By Philippine law, this kind of malversation isn’t bailable and can be punished by life in prison, along with disqualification from holding public office.

Sy currently owns the majority of Kamura after the acquisition in 2021. He was the treasurer and chairman, and Rizalina was the company’s president.

According to GGRAsia, PAGCOR didn’t wait to comment on the matter, but Tengco issued the statement on Wednesday, claiming that he wants to get to the bottom of these accusations.

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