|PAGCOR: in hot water again
Just last year, PAGCOR was able to rake in P31.4 billion. Why should this matter to you? It’s because supposedly, the Filipino has a share in what PAGCOR-a government owned company- makes. Part of the mandate that the PAGCOR has is that its aim is to make money in order to help different sectors of the public like sports, health, education and other areas.
Unfortunately, it seems as though that the former administration of PAGCOR only sought to help themselves make more money.
Here are a few of the numbers that PAGCOR’s former administration spent:
- P 21 million for hamburgers and 1-piece chicken meals
- A P186 million cheque for the Batang Iwas Droga or BIDA partylist, which includes P 27 million for the 2008 movie Baler
- P 6 million for the travel expenses of the corporations’ officials
- P75,000 for the monthly payola of each of the corporation’s consultants
Wow. That was easily more than P 200 million. If they can easily shell out that much for other things, then they certainly should be able to shell out the comparatively small amount that our country’s athletes are asking for as support.
Uneven Playing Field
|Denjylie Cordero missed a qualifying event because of lack of funds
18 year old Denjylie Cordero is a member of the Philippine National Swimming Team and trains everyday to be able to qualify for the Olympics. Unfortunately, lack of funds hindered her from competing in a qualifying event. For her, national athletes should be supported by the government and it’s unfortunate that national players like her have to spend for what the government should be giving them.
Take note, a lot of our national athletes are not financially wealthy.
The case is the same for the Manila Softball team who flew to Michigan to compete in a little league tournament. To be able to represent the country, the team and their manager had to beg and borrow money from willing givers.
|Manila Softball Team: Had to beg and borrow money to represent the country in Michigan
Aside from that, the equipment that the team uses are nothing short of worn-out and overused. They resort to repairing torn and overused balls when necessary.
Without support from the government, the efforts of these athletes will be rendered useless.
According R.A. 6874 or The Philippine Sports Commission Act, PAGCOR is required to give 5% percent of the total earnings of all casinos and gambling establishments under PAGCOR. Based on last year’s PAGCOR earnings, the PSC should’ve gotten P1.57 billion. That amount of money would certainly be a big help to all Filipino athletes.
Recently, swimmers advocate and former senator Nikki Coseteng filed a case to the Ombudsman against former PAGCOR Chairman Efraim Genuino and Philippine Aquatic Sports Association president Mark Joseph. According to the complaint, PAGCOR gave P34 million pesos to a group of swimmers, represented by Mark Joseph but the money was spent inside the compound of Trace College.
Trace College is owned by the Genuino Family. Coseteng calls this a “return to sender” transaction. The P34 million that was given by PAGCOR was used to renovate Trace College’s pool, whereas a decent sized pool can be bought for a P10 million peso budget.
Now, it’s not only the athletes that are questioning PAGCOR’s expenditures, even the country’s chief of staff wants some answers.
Revelations and contracts
During the SONA last July 25, President Aquino revealed that PAGCOR’s former administration spent a billion pesos for coffee. This time however, it wasn’t only the Genuinos who were getting in on the action. Apparently some of former administration’s friends wanted in on the “blessings” too.
From 2001, PAGCOR has been in ties with a company named Promolabels Specialty shop, with regards to their supply of coffee. The signature found on the contract is that of one Carlota Manalo-Tan, the wife of business man Johnny Tan, who was the second nominee of the BIDA party list during the 2010 elections. The same group that was heavily supported and funded by former PAGCOR chairman Efraim Genuino.
Promolabels was able to put up seven Figaro branches in different PAGCOR Casinos all over the country and the contract lasted for nine years. In those nine years, coffee consumption went up and the expenses ballooned to exactly P1, 007,408,908.
Just for coffee
According to the Commission on Audit, it was no surprise that PAGCOR spent so much for coffee because Promolabels jacked the product prices up inside the casino. Outside the casino, a 16-ounce Caffe Latte from Figaro costs P119.00 but inside the casino, the same 16 oz. Caffe Latte costs P150.00. The Figaro 12 oz. Frost Light Chocolate drink costs P205.00 inside the casino, P80 more than its original retail price outside the casino, a 60% mark-up.
Aside from the caffeine-induced price mark-ups, it was also discovered that Promolabels was automatically awarded the contract and did not have to go through a bidding process.
According to Figaro management, they have long detached themselves from Promolabels and have nothing to do with the shady business dealings between PAGCOR and Promolabels and they also do not approve of anomalous actions.
Along with the expensive coffee, Johnny Tan was also able to bring in other businesses to PAGCOR, including his Big Shot Bingo outlets and his own Kilton Motor Corporation that supplies PAGCOR with generators, multi-cabs, motorcycles, and metal detectors.
As if the coffee was not enough to get caffeine flowing to the casino patrons’ systems, PAGCOR also dealt with an MSM Numero Uno International Corporation and was supplied with Thunder Energy drink from 2006 to 2009. The company, owned by a woman named Carol Matsuda, supplied energy drinks to 9 PAGCOR branches.
Outside the casino, a bottle of Thunder Energy drink costs around P25. Inside the casino, a bottle costs almost P110 pesos, thus skyrocketing PAGCOR’s expenses to a hundred million pesos in just four years.
What does Carol Matsuda have to do with any of this aside from owning MSM? It was discovered that Matsuda was also part of the BIDA party list.