Former Senator Nikki Coseteng hailed the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to pursue graft charges against Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) President Mark Joseph, former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) Chief Efraim Genuino and other former board members.
“This is a victory for the swimming community and sports as a whole and it is a clear indication that justice system works in the country, we just have to be patient and persevere for the sake of the young athletes,” said Coseteng.
Coseteng along with nine other complainants questioned the authority of Pagcor to release funds “directly” to the PASA headed by Joseph instead to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) then led by Chairman William Ramirez. The law states that all funds from Pagcor must be released through the PSC—the government’s sports agency.
According to the resolution, “the funds totaling P37, 063, 488.21 as per complainant’s Pagcor computation (with P31,858,616.35 appearing to be not properly supported by documents per an audit report), were utilized as rental payments and training costs for the use of Trace Aquatics Center (TAC) sports facilities by PASA athletes who train and stay therein. TAC is effectively owned and controlled by respondent Genuino and his family.”
After reviewing the complaints, the Ombudsman has decided to file graft and criminal charges against Genuino, Joseph, Ramirez, and former Pagcor officials and board members Rafael Francisco, Philip Lo, Danilo Gozo, Manuel Roxas, Rene Figueroa, Ester Hernandez, Valente Custodio and Edward King before the Sandiganbayan.
“In fine, there is probable cause to indict respondents Genuino, King, Figueroa, Hernandez and Ramirez for one  count of Violation of Sec.3 [e]of Republic Act 3019, as amended, with regard to the unlawful direct release of public funds amounting to P37,063,488.21 by Pagcor to PASA; to indict respondents Genuino, King, Figueroa, Hernandez, Custodio, Joseph and Ramirez for one  count of Violation of Sec. 3 [e]of Republic Act 3019, as amended, to the disbursement of public funds by Pagcor amounting to P9 million to PASA, P910,000 of which has been documented for the unnecessary and excessive consultancy services of Jose Arne Navara and/or Synercraft Control Technologies,” the resolution approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera stated.
Philippine Swimming League President Susan Papa expressed elation over the development saying “the resolution coming in the very first month of 2015 all by the Grace of God.”