A 2011 complaint filed by the Philippine Swimming League has led to graft charges being filed on Friday by the Philippines’ Office of the Ombudsman against Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp’s (PAGCOR) former chairman, Efraim Genuino, as well as other former officials of the government‘s gaming regulator.
The charges filed with a Philippines special appellate collegial court have to do with what is considered by the Ombudsman as an “anomalous” transfer of approximately PHP37.1 million (US$799,740) in funds between April 2007 and August 2009 to train swimmers for the 2012 Olympics, according to local media. Also included, was a transfer of PHP910,000 to maintain the technology that was used in the training program.
The charges include two counts of violating national laws, which includes the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The same charges were also filed in a third case against Genuino, who held the position at PAGCOR until 2010.
Other former PAGCOR officials charged by the Ombudsman include Rafael Francisco, the regulator’s former chief operations officer and president; Edward King, former senior vice president; Rene Figueroa, former executive vice president; Ester Hernandez, former vice president, and Valente Custodio, former assistant vice president. Citing documents that were filed with the court, local media reports that William Ramirez, the Philippine Sports Commission’s former chairman, and the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association Inc.’s (PASA), former president, Mark Joseph, have also been accused of the same charges.
Sandiganbayan, a special collegial court, maintains jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases that involve graft and corrupt practices that are committed by employees and public officers, including those in corporations controlled or owned by the government.
According to local media, the Ombudsman said that the fund releases were not approved by PAGCOR’s board and that per the law; the Philippine Sports Commission should have been given the funds, not PASA, which is under the Philippine Sports Commission. Citing court papers, local media also reports that the Ombudsman also noted that Genuino and his family owned the sports facility and the technology used for the training, that the PASA leased for the swimming training program.
Last month, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte announced that he had selected Andrea Domingo to head PAGCOR, replacing Cristino Naguiat Jr as the head of the Philippines gambling regulating body. PAGCOR operates 13 casinos in the Philippines including, Casino Filipino Angeles and Casino Filipino Tagaytay and reported 2015 revenue of just under $1b, and should exceed that this year. Earlier this month PAGCOR reported its net income for the first three months of 2016 increased by 11% year-on-year to $22.1 million.