AMID allegations that it could not explain where it spent its P110 million intelligence funds, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) will reduce its intelligence expenses for this year.
Pagcor said the projected disbursement for intelligence operations for this year would actually fall below the 1999 levels.
“It is much lower by 46 percent compared to the highest annual intelligence expense incurred by the previous Pagcor administration,” the agency said in a statement released over the weekend.
Pagcor, however, said its intelligence operations had been in place since 1993 and always had presidential approval.
Pagcor issued the statement in response to allegations that it could not explain where it spent its P110 million intelligence funds.
Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, who is among those who are against the re-appointment of the entire board of Pagcor, raised the issue in a letter of opposition filed at the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GCG).
Pagcor explained the liquidation of cash advances being made for intelligence operations have always been done by the special disbursing officers in accordance with Circular 2003-002 of the Commission on Audit (COA).
The circular, it added, only required the submission of certifications of fund utilization.
The COA recently requested the submission of additional documentary requirements beyond those required by its Circular 2003-002.
Pagcor said it has complied with these requirements. It added that it is also awaiting the guidelines being prepared jointly by GCG, COA, and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), to cover intelligence and confidential funds of government entities.
The issuance of these guidelines, Pagcor said, will further ensure judicious use of government funds.
Pagcor maintained that its intelligence activities form an integral part of its gaming operations and gives assurance to its gaming clientele that the integrity of its gaming activities is maintained and protected.
“The fact that Pagcor’s operations have grown in complexity and size over the years cannot be overemphasized, the results of which are being enjoyed by the government and various sectors of society,” it added.
It also addressed questions about its P5.14 billion alleged unpaid cash dividends.
Pagcor said it was only last February 17, 2014 that the Department of Finance (DOF) informed the agency that it has to remit P5.88 billion in unpaid cash dividends since 2005.
“We immediately reconciled the figures and informed DOF that based on our own computation, Pagcor only owes the National Treasury P5.14 billion and this amount pertains to the unremitted cash dividends of the previous Pagcor administration,” it said.
To date, Pagcor said they have already paid P2.44 billion or almost half of these arrears.
“We have already informed the DOF that Pagcor will settle the remaining arrears amounting to P2.71 billion by next year,” it added.
Aside from the cash dividends that the administration started paying in 2011, Pagcor said it has also settled P856.98 million in back taxes (P657.18 million in Corporate Income Tax and P199.80 million in Fringe Benefits Taxes) incurred by the previous Pagcor administration from 2004 to June 2010.
“It should also be noted that our administration accelerated the payment for loans made by the past Pagcor management for the acquisition of various properties. These loans amounted to P1.65 billion as of June 30, 2010. We were able to settle this amount in less than a year after our new management assumed leadership of Pagcor,” it said.