Former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chief Efraim Genuino is asking the Sandiganbayan for the outright dismissal of his 38 malversation and graft charges because the cash used in the alleged illegal transaction are private in nature.
In a 10-page motion to quash, Genuino said that the monies used to purchase the tickets for Baler and to cover for the expense of Batang Iwas Droga came from the private funds of the Gaming company.
The allegations cover his graft and malversation charges for SB-13-CRM-0605 to 0606 and SB-13-CRM-0608 to 0643.
Lawyers Benjamin Santos and Ramon Esguerra told the Sandiganbayan Third Division that the charter of the Pagcor stipulates the splitting of funds of the Gaming corporation into public and private funds.
Under Presidential Decree 1869, the cash belonging to the government is only at 50 percent of its total earning. If the annual income is less than P150 million, the state’s share is increased by 10 percent.
“A careful reading of the Pagcor Charter shows that monies raised by Pagcor assume a public character only when earmarked and remitted to the government for social development projects designed to benefit the general public,” the pleading read.
It quoted the Pagcor law that the Commission on Audit (COA) could only audit the five-percent franchise tax and 50-percent state share out of its gross earnings.
However, the defense did not elaborate how the cash came from the private fund of Pagcor. It only made a difference between the private and public monies of the company.
Genuino and the defense camp also raised that the documents attached to the complaint of the incumbent Pagcor officials who charged Genuino with malversation and graft cases only presented photocopied documents.
The complainants said that they forwarded the original to the Audit commission.
However, supervision auditor Resurreccion Quieta said that did not have the original copies of the documents.
Quieta said that the documents were forwarded to the corporate and legal services department of the Pagcor.
“Pagcor’s categorical admission that the original copies are not in its possession and have never been presented in the proceedings before the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman is fatal to its case,” the defense said.
Quoting a Supreme Court jurisprudence, Genuino and lawyers said that “it is a basic rule that mere photocopies cannot be the basis of a criminal charge.”
They said that the charge sheets should be quashed and that an “immediate dismissal” should be handed out because the complaints “do not constitute a criminal offense,” they added. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON