Koko alarmed over bribery allegations vs ex-PAGCOR official

From a report by Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2012 08:00 PM | Updated as of Dec 02 2012 04:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel is alarmed by the recent reports that a company owned by Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada allegedly gave $30 million or P1.2 billion to former PAGCOR consultant Rodolfo Soriano.

The payment was allegedly made as Okada's Universal Entertainment Corp. lobbied for tax and government concessions for the $2 billion casino at the PAGCOR Entertainment City.

“Para din ito sa kabutihan ng proyekto. As much as possible, we will preserve the integrity of the project pero kung mayroon talagang illegal na nagawa, let us follow the law,” said Pimentel, who is the chairman of the Committee on Games and Amusement.

Aside from the alleged bribery, the Senate committee will also look into reports that the PAGCOR Entertainment City project could just be a casualty between the fallout of casino billionaires Okada and Steve Wynn.

Masahiro Terada, the president of Tiger Resorts admitted in a House hearing that two wire transfers -- $5 million and $10 million -- were made to Soriano but that these were not authorized.

This has resulted in the filing of a case in Japan against three former Okada employees.

The Senate committee is scheduled to invite Soriano, former PAGCOR chair Efraim Genuino and present PAGCOR officials to shed light on the issue.

PAGCOR vice president for corporate communication Maricar Bautista welcomes the investigation, saying they will fully cooperate with the Senate. -- ANC