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P5B saved from scrapping Pagcor deal with private auditor

April 1, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 281 views

THE government generated savings of over P5 billion from the termination of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) contract with the third-party auditor for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), Senator Win Gatchalian said.

An investigation conducted by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Gatchalian, has revealed numerous irregularities in the way third-party auditor Global ComRCI secured a 10-year P6 billion contract with PAGCOR. The contract commenced in 2018.

Such findings of irregularities eventually led PAGCOR to terminate its contract with Global ComRCI to whom it has so far extended P842 million in partial payment.

Gatchalian expressed hope that PAGCOR would vigorously pursue its intention of filing appropriate charges against Global ComRCI and erring PAGCOR officials involved in the anomalous procurement of POGOs’ third-party auditor. He also called for the recovery of the P842 million it has so far paid to the auditing firm. Following the contract’s termination, PAGCOR said it has endorsed the matter to the Office of the Solicitor General for the possible filing of administrative, civil, and criminal cases against Global ComRCI.

“We are delighted to learn that our exercise of legislative oversight over the POGO industry, specifically to determine the socio-economic cost of allowing its presence in the country, has aided the government in generating savings of more than P5 billion,” Gatchalian said.

The lawmaker had earlier called for the immediate closure of POGO operations in the country to help maintain peace and order and sustain economic growth. According to him, the absence of a third-party contractor for POGOs should also prompt immediate termination of POGO operations.

Gatchalian has earlier stressed that an outright ban on POGOs in the country is the only way to address the growing number of criminal activities attributed to the industry.

“Non-negotiable sa akin ang criminal activities. Hindi ko pwedeng i-negotiate ang buhay ng kababayan natin dahil kung may makidnap dyan o kung merong napatay ay responsibilidad natin yun,” he added.