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PAGCOR’s chairman and nine others have been charged with graft.

September 6, 2023 Philippines Crime & Legal

A legal case has been initiated involving the disappearance of PHP75 million from a performance bond submitted by an e-sabong (online cockfighting) company.

Alejandro Tengco, the head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR), along with nine others, including Chief of Staff Dianne Erica Jogno, former PAGCOR head Andrea Domingo, and former board members Gabriel Claudio, Carmen Pedrosa, Reynaldo Concordia, and James Patrick Bondoc, have been formally charged with graft, qualified stealing, and falsification of private and business documents before the Office of the Ombudsman.

This lawsuit stems from allegations related to an e-sabong company’s improper disbursement and subsequent disappearance of PHP75 million from performance bond funds.

The plaintiff, Joaquin Sy, who also serves as the chairman of the board and chief financial officer of Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings Inc., alleges that the PHP75 million from the performance bond vanished under suspicious circumstances. Sy asserts that he personally provided the bond at PAGCOR’s Malate, Manila headquarters, using two manager’s checks drawn from his personal bank accounts to secure the bond for Kamura’s e-sabong operations.

However, complications arose when e-sabong operations were abruptly halted due to a decree issued by then-President Rodrigo Duterte. Sy requested the withdrawal of the bond but received no response from PAGCOR. Despite multiple follow-up attempts, he did not receive a reply until July 10 of the following year.

At that time, Sy was informed that PHP75 million had been issued in the form of checks in someone else’s name and had been promptly cashed. According to Sy’s complaint, government accounting standards mandate the return of performance bonds to the entity or individual who submitted them.

Although the alleged breach of protocol occurred during the tenure of former PAGCOR chief Andrea Domingo and the previous board, Tengco and Jogno are facing charges of obstruction of justice for “willfully concealing the crimes and unjustly failing to respond to the complainant’s letters within the legally prescribed timeframe.”

According to publicly available documents, Sy acquired a majority stake in Kamura in 2021 and was appointed treasurer and chairman of the board in February 2022.

Original Story by Focus Gaming Asia Pacific

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