Ex Pagcor chief posts P90k bail

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Former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) Chairman Efraim Genuino posted P90,000 bail for his provisional liberty over graft charges he is facing along with several others in connection with the allegedly anomalous release of P37 million to the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association Inc. (PASA) for the training of swimmers for the 2012 Olympic Games in 2007 to 2009.

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The Office of the Ombudsman filed the cases at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan last week and the cases were designated by raffle to the court’s Third Division yesterday (Friday).

Genuino, accompanied by his lawyers, arrived yesterday afternoon and posted bail over three counts of graft ahead of the court’s determination of whether or not there are sufficient grounds to try the case and to issue arrest warrants.

Named respondents along with Genuino in two separate cases for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act were: former Pagcor President Rafael Francisco; former Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications and Services Department Edward King; former Executive Vice President and Head of the Internal Audit Department Rene Figueroa; former Vice President, Accounting Department Ester Hernandez, and; former Assistant Vice President, Internal Audit Department Valente Custodio.

Former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez and former PASA President Mark Joseph were also included.

According to the Ombudsman, the funds were used to pay for the use of the aquatic facility of Trace Aquatic Center (TAC) which was a sports facility allegedly owned by Genuino and his family.

PASA was a national sports agency under the PSC umbrella, according to the charge sheets.

The Ombudsman also alleged that Joseph entered into “exorbitant and excessive” consultancy deals in 2007 and 2008 for the maintenance of the timing and computer systems of TAC, which was then being used by the PASA athletes.

According to the charge sheet, P910,000 from Pagcor funds “was documented to have been actually paid” to the contractors.

The Ombudsman said that the payment was “unnecessary and exorbitant” because separate Pagcor funds were already disbursed to pay for the rental of TAC’s facilities “which should have included the in-house timing and computer systems.”

It also filed a case for violation of Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law with Genuino as sole respondent for allegedly having “direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in the allocation and disbursement of Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC’s) 5% gross income share/obligatory remittance, from Pagcor funds, which should have formed part of PSC’s National Sports Development Fund (NSDF)” by supposedly causing the direct disbursement of the P37-million Pagcor funds to PASA which then paid the amount to TAC.

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