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PAGCOR terminates contract with third-party POGO auditor

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has terminated its contract with a third-party auditor tasked with auditing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) for alleged “unlawful acts” following a review of their deal.

In a statement, the gaming industry regulator said that “after careful investigation and in accordance with R.A. No. 9184 otherwise known as the Government Procurement Act,” it has issued and served a Notice of Decision to Terminate the Consultancy Contract with Global ComRCI, which was entered into by both parties in December 2017.

To recall, during a Senate hearing in January, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that PAGCOR may have been duped by Global ComRCI, claiming that the third-party auditor had been awarded the contract based on a "spurious" bank certificate.

Global ComRCI was awarded a 10-year contract by the PAGCOR as early as 2017, and the agency then said that the service provider went through the proper bidding process and met all the legal requirements under the Procurement Law.

PAGCOR, however, said that its contract with Global ComRCI has been under review since September 2022 following the assumption of the new leadership of the gaming industry regulator.

“Upon careful evaluation and with observance of due process, PAGCOR has determined the Third-Party Auditor to be IN DEFAULT of its obligations and that there exists prima facie evidence that it has committed UNLAWFUL ACTS as defined under R.A. No. 9184,” the agency said.

GMA News Online has reached out to Global ComRCI through its available email address. No response yet has been received as of this posting.

“PAGCOR would like to reiterate that contrary to previous reports, it has not yet paid the contract amount of P6 billion to Global ComRCI,” the gaming regulator said.

“No payment has been made by PAGCOR in the past four years due to the shortfall from the minimum revenue stipulated in the contract,” it added.

PAGCOR said it has already endorsed the matter to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for the possible filing of administrative, civil, and criminal cases against Global ComRCI.

“PAGCOR shall likewise explore all legal remedies available for the restitution of more than P800 million out of the partial amount released to Global ComRCI prior to the assumption of the current administration as well as damages it has caused to the Corporation,” it said.

PAGCOR said it is “firm in its commitment to uphold the integrity of the gaming industry in the country so that all revenues from regulated gaming will continue to support the government's nation-building efforts and uplift the lives of Filipinos.”—AOL, GMA Integrated News