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Ex-PAGCOR chief, 40 others face P186-M plunder raps

(Updated 12:58 p.m.) Only weeks after he was slapped with malversation and graft charges, former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chair Efraim Genuino on Monday faced plunder charges over the alleged misuse of the state-owned gaming firm's funds to support a private foundation from 2003 to 2010. The current PAGCOR leadership filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) a plunder complaint against Genuino and 40 others for the supposed diversion of P186 million to Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA) Foundation, which also ran as a party-list group in the 2010 elections. The group had Genuino's daughter, Sheryl Genuino-See, as its first nominee in the 2010 polls. The group, however, did not manage to gather enough votes that would give Genuino-See a seat in the House of Representatives. PAGCOR said that there was conflict of interest on the part of BIDA Foundation's officials because they received financial support from PAGCOR, where they also sat as officials as well.
Copies of some of the checks that PAGCOR issued to BIDA Foundation. Sophia Dedace
As of posting time, GMA News Online has yet to reach the elder Genuino for comment. His mobile phone has been turned off since Monday morning. How the alleged anomaly happened In the complaint filed with the DOJ, PAGCOR incumbent chair Cristino Naguiat Jr. said former PAGCOR officers approved "questionable" and "anomalous" transactions that went to the pockets of BIDA Foundation, which had nothing to do with the operations of the state-owned gaming firm. The complaint alleged that multi-million PAGCOR funds were used to finance and support BIDA's anti-drug projects and advertisements. The projects' flyers and other promotion materials carried Genuino's face, signature, and message. Speaking to reporters, Naguiat questioned whether Genuino has used BIDA Foundation to propel a possible political ambition last 2009. "[The 186 million was used for] advertisements, pins; it's all political propaganda. There's a Commision on Audit report or letter asking PAGCOR the purpose of the BIDA Foundation. Does it have the intention of a political career. In 2009, there were talks that the former chairman [Genuino] is running for a political position. So COA asked Genuino if it is for a political purpose," Naguiat said.
In its complaint, PAGCOR attached copies of promotional materials for BIDA Foundation's projects, which were supposedly funded by the state-owned gaming firm.Sophia Dedace
From 2008 to 2009, BIDA held campus tours, where full color comic books were distributed to students. "All of these efforts, including printing of collaterals, were supposedly funded by PAGCOR.Sophia Dedace
Naguiat likewise said that the transfer of funds to BIDA violated COA regulations and PAGCOR's internal procedures, which require public bidding. Naguiat likewise claimed that when BIDA Foundation was accredited as a party-list group for the 2010 elections, PAGCOR continued to release financial benefits and privileges for the group. "In fact, they still authorized the payment of at least P2.5 million for BIDA advertisements aired after the BIDA Foundation was already registered and declared as a political party," said Naguiat. "There is obviously a glaring conflict of interest because they [BIDA officials] were officials of PAGCOR during the time that these transactions were consummated, and they got huge donations from the government agency they worked for," he said. Respondents Aside from Genuino, the other respondents in the complaint include former PAGCOR board members Rafael Francisco, Manuel Roxas, Philip Lo, Danilo Gozo, Imelda Dimaporo, Ester Laconico Feria, Susana Dumlao Vargas, and Gamaliel Cordoba. Genuino's daughter, Sheryl, who was BIDA Foundation's first nominee in the party-list elections, was also charged. Also named as respondents were former PAGCOR officials Jose Benedicto, Rene Figueroa, Edward King, Carlos Bautista Jr., Ester Hernandez, Valente Custodio, Jesselyn Duranto-Quizon, Erwin Genuino, and former PAGCOR consultants Mario Cornista Rodolfo Soriano, Tomas Toledo, and Emilio Marcelo. Also charged were BIDA Foundation incorporators and members Jesus Velmonte, Cornelio Valerio, Nicanor Roxas, Michael Nisperos, Arnold Garchitorena, Angelo Tesoro, Jose Salindong, Johnny Tan, Philip Beltran, Luis Guerrero, Carol Matsuda, Olive Soriano, and Josephine Evangelista. Manuel Nocon Jr., Dennis Celeste, Ronald Tagayon, Adriano Velmonte, Rafael Torcuator, and Anna Maria Espiritu were likewise included on the charge sheet becuase they were incorporators or members of the entities that PAGCOR contracted to give creative and advertising services for BIDA. — RSJ, GMA News