MANILA (UPDATE) — Former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation chairperson Efraim Genuino was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt by the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division on Friday morning of one count of graft involving P37 million in funds for swimmers in the 2012 Olympics.
The court said Genuino and Francisco gave unwarranted benefits to the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA).
“To repeat, no other sports association was granted this benefit and the said accused miserably failed to present any valid justification as to why the PSC by-passed the usual procedure in favor of PASA,” the court said in the decision penned by Division Chairperson and Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno.
In open court, Genuino’s lawyer said they would avail all possible remedies.
Genuino refused to respond to ABS-CBN’s query after the promulgation when asked if he would file an appeal before the Sandiganbayan.
Genuino’s co-accused were also found guilty, including former PAGCOR President and Chief Operations Officer Rafael Francisco and Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez.
Genuino, Francisco and Ramirez were sentenced to imprisonment of 6 to 10 years each, as well as perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
According to the information filed by the Ombudsman in 2016, P124.507 million PAGCOR funds were allocated for the development and training of the swimmers under PASA in preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London.
About P37 million was directly disbursed to PASA, a national agency under the PSC.
PASA then used the money to pay for the aquatic training facility at the TRACE Aquatic Center (TAC), a business allegedly owned and controlled by Genuino and his family.
Aside from Genuino's alleged pecuniary interest in the release of funds to their family business, the Ombudsman also questioned the release of funds to PASA, instead of the PSC.
In his defense through earlier manifestations before the court, Genuino said, among others, that the Commission on Audit had held that he had no control nor discretion over the funds and there was no basis to hold him criminally liable.
Genuino also alleged that the prosecution failed to prove that he had any interest in PASA nor the entities to which PASA used the funds, including the TRACE Aquatic Center.
Former senior vice president for corporate communications and services Edward King and assistant vice president for internal audit Valente Custodio meantime were acquitted after the prosecution failed to prove their guilt.
The court noted that the only evidence presented by the prosecution to prove that PASA paid TRACE college for the use of its facilities was an official receipt dated January 18, 2008, issued by Trace Computer College in the amount of P1,500,000.00 with PASA as the payor.
“There is no proof however, that this money came from the funds that PASA directly received from PAGCOR,” the court said.
For another count of graft, Genuino was acquitted by the court.
The graft case of former executive vice president and internal audit department head Rene Figueroa was dismissed by the court, citing a Supreme Court resolution in 2022.
The graft case of former PAGCOR vice president for accounting Ester Hernandez and Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) president Mark Josep were ordered archived by the court as they remain at large.