DOES the Duterte administration need the money that Philweb Corp. contributes to the government coffers?
This is only one of the questions that could be raised following the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp’s approval of its contract with Philweb.
The next poser: Why did PAGCOR approve Philweb’s deal only for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to pick on the company’s majority stockholder?
If you are among the public investors who trade on Philweb shares, you need to find the answers by going over the filings posted on the website of the Philippine Stock Exchange. By reading them, you will also discover the new meaning of the word “urgent” as PAGCOR now defines it under the Duterte administration.
One of these postings suggests the government’s priority is money but not necessarily service. Otherwise, why did PAGCOR grant Philweb a license to engage in e-gaming only for the Duterte administration to later expose businessman Roberto V. Ongpin as an “oligarch”?
Ongpin is the majority stockholder of Philweb.
P14-B govt take
The president did not define what exactly he meant by the word “oligarch” and why Ongpin is the only one among more than 100 million Filipinos. He should expand a little bit his naming game.
In 14 years, Philweb, according to a press release, paid PAGCOR over P14 billion. Last year, it “remitted over P2.1 billion to the gaming regulator and also paid P280 million in corporate income tax, VAT and other taxes.”
In a quarterly financial filing as of March 31, Philweb reported capital stock of P1.391 billion; additional paid-in capital of P1.103 billion; and retained earnings of P2.598 billion.
As of yesterday, the PSE website showed Philweb had issued 1,516,836,118 shares of which 1,435,455,180 are outstanding today, and 81,380,938 are treasury shares. As of Dec.31, 2015, it reported 354,621,621 treasury shares which it bought back at a total cost of P4,211,137,736, or P11.875 per each but had since resold some of them.
A public ownership report listed Ongpin as direct owner of 21.84 million Philweb shares, or 1.52 percent, and indirect holder of 745.739 million shares, or 51.95 percent. Including other Philweb stockholders, company insiders own a total of 1.08 billion shares, or 75.22 percent, leaving the public with 355.66 million shares, or 24.88 percent
The contents of PAGCOR’s letter to Dennis Valdez, Philweb president, may be self-explanatory but may need elaboration.
“This has reference to your request dated July 8, 2016, for extension of Philweb IPLMA contract with PAGCOR on a month-to-month basis or on other short-term basis until the presentation regarding Philweb can be provided to the President and his directive regarding online gaming can be clarified.
“In the exigency of the service and in order to prevent loss of revenue to the government, please be informed that the request for extension of the Philweb IPLMA Contract due to expire on July 11, 2016 is granted and hereby extended from July 11, 2016 until August 10, 2016.
Andrea D. Domingo signed the letter as PAGCOR’s acting chairperson.
Philweb’s intellectual property license agreement (IPLMA), which PAGCOR approved a month ago, expires today.
I described the approval “urgent” because Philweb made the request on July 8, 2016.
Granted, said Domingo in the letter she sent to Valdez also on the same day, which was also July 8, 2016.
That could be how fast the Duterte leadership is in serving the business sector. Where would you ever find a government agency acting very quickly on a request by a private company for a government license?
Here is another interpretation of the word “urgent.” Under the new regime, the issuance of a gaming license appears to be a priority. A license applicant does not need to fall in line like what the poor do to get financial assistance from either PAGCOR or Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Philweb was lucky to have been engaged in e-gaming, which is a significant contributor to government funds. However, it should be reminded that Domingo’s response was only in the guise of “exigency of the service” when, in fact, she meant to tell Philweb that PAGCOR’s approval was “to prevent loss of revenue to the government.”