Cristino L. Naguiat Jr., former chief executive of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), along with five PAGCOR officers, have been found liable by the Commission on Audit (COA) for P234 million for lease of a non-existent property, according to the Manila Bulletin.

A Notice of Disallowance to Andrea D. Domingo, PAGCOR’s newly elected chairperson and one-time Pampanga congresswoman, stated that along with Naguiat, other liable individuals include Recto Baltazar Jr., PAGCOR Assistant Vice President of Finance and Treasury; Milagros Pauline Visque, Assistant Vice President of General Services and Engineering; Sharon SJ Quintanilla, Officer-In-Charge Accounting Department; and Evelyn Salvador, Assistant Vice President of Internal Audit, as reported by the news agency.

According to the report, Vanderwood Management Corporation (VMC) was also found liable. The corporation received payment for the lease of a 6,500 square meter space located within the Museo ng Maynila Complex for a gaming facility. The complex was formerly the Army & Navy Club. The payment “was disallowed in audit considering that the premises to be leased was not yet existing at the time of the execution of the Contract of Lease,” stated the COA.

The COA found Naguiat liable for approving the advance rental of P156 million, at a cost of P13 million a month for 12 months, in addition to six months’ security deposit totaling P78 million. According to the report, Baltazar was one of the individuals who signed the check payment, while Visque certified the necessity of the payment and that documents were “complete and proper,” and the lease transaction was passed in audit by Quintanilla.

The COA stated in the Notice of Disallowance to Domingo to “please direct the aforementioned persons liable to settle immediately the said disallowance.” The letter also stated that because VMC is merely a sub-lessee of the subject property, it does not qualify as a “Lessor” under Section 6 of Executive Order No. 301. The City Government of Manila owns the Museo ng Maynila Complex, which the site is a part of. Oceanville Hotel and Spa Corporation leased the complex for its restoration and revival; a portion of which was leased to VMC by Oceanville.

In addition to those findings, the COA also found that despite the fact that certain documents were not submitted and non-compliance of conditions under the Technical requirements of the bid existed, the VMC was still qualified by PAGCOR’s Bids and Awards Committee in the post-qualification process, as reported by the news agency.

In other PAGCOR news, Andrea Domingo told a House budget hearing that the government of the Philippines will sell the corporation’s casinos in order to raise money to support the P3.4-trillion national budget for 2017.

 

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