‘Trumped-up’ raps vs PAGCOR bewailed

September 9, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 533 views

A HOUSE leader slammed the filing of “trumped-up” charges against the chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) and nine others before the Office of the Ombudsman over the alleged disappearance of P75 million in performance bond posted by an e-sabong firm.

Cavite Rep. Elipidio Barzaga Jr., chairman of the House committee on games and amusement, said Chairman Alejandro Tengco has nothing to do with the allegations because the head of the PAGCOR then was Andrea Domingo.

“Mukhang hindi pinag-aralang mabuti ang kasong isinampa because Chairman Tengco was not yet the head of PAGCOR then. The complaint was filed probably just to harass him,” the senior lawmaker said.

Among those charged with malversation of public funds, qualified theft and falsification of private and commercial documents with Domingo and Tengco were his chief of staff Dianne Erica Jogno, Domingo and former board members Gabriel Claudio, Carmen Pedrosa, Reynaldo Concordia and James Patrick Bondoc.

Joaquin Sy, chairman of the board and chief finance officer of Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings Inc., was the one who filed the complaint.

Tengco was included in the list of respondents even if he only assumed office as PAGCOR chair last week of August last year.

Tengco and Jogno were also charged with complaints of obstruction of justice for “their deliberate concealment of the crimes and unjustified refusal to respond to the letters of the complainant within the period prescribed (by the law).”

Barzaga pointed out that the complaint even included Concordia who died on June 17, 2021 and Pedrosa who passed away on June 8, 2022.

“Basic naman ‘yan, mukhang ‘di pinag-aralang ang kasong isinampa. The complainant doesn’t even know that a person’s death extinguishes civil and criminal liability. They’re blackening the memory of the late PAGCOR board members,” he said.

Barzaga commended Tengco for assuring the public that he would get to the bottom of the matter even if he had nothing to do with it, saying “it shows strength of character.”

While he thinks that it was “strange” that he was included in the complaint, Tengco has vowed to “pursue our own investigation and determine what really happened, and bring the perpetrators to justice if indeed there was any anomaly.”

The PAGCOR chief said he has launched an internal investigation and is “trying to recreate the sequence of events.”

The other respondents in the case are Jewel Castro and his parents, Rizalina and Simplicio Castro, who were allegedly involved with Kamura.

However, based on the records of Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings, Inc. filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), out of P100 million paid-up capital, Rizalina Camora Castro, Simplicio Castro Lorenzana Jr. and Jewel Camora Castro paid P 20 million each or a total of P60 million. Moreover, in the latest general information sheet filed with SEC, Rizalina Camora Castro is the president and Jewel Camora Castro is the vice president while Joaquin P. Sy as chief financial officer. Rizalina Camora Castro in the latest stockholder’s information sheet has paid P24 million and Jewel Camora Castro paid P25 million or a total of P49 million out of the paid-up capital of P100 million.