DOJ forms panel for probe of PAGCOR's 'Baler' project

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2011 02:12 AM | Updated as of Jul 01 2011 06:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has created a panel to handle the preliminary investigation of the complaint for malversation of public funds and violation of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act against former officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for the disbursement of some P26.7-million for the production of the movie "Baler" in 2008.

By virtue of Department Order no. 517, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima designated Assistant State Prosecutor Gino Paulo Santiago as panel chairman, with Assistant State Prosecutors Mary Ann Parong and Susan Villanueva as members.

The panel will determine whether there is probable cause to charge respondents in court.

Incumbent officials of PAGCOR filed the complaint against the following:

  • former PAGCOR chairman and chief executive officer(CEO) Ephraim Genuino;
  • Rafael "Butch" Francisco, former president and chief operating officer;
  • former board member Manuel Roxas,
  • former board member Philip Lo,
  • former board member Gamaliel Cordoba (now Commissioner of the Telecommunications Commission);
  • Jose Benedicto, former PAGCOR chief-of-staff;
  • Rene Figueroa, former executive vice-president;
  • Edward "Dodie" King, former senior vice-president for Corporate Communications and Services Department;
  • Carlos Bautista, Jr., former vice-president for Legal;
  • Esther Hernandez, former vice-president for Accounting;
  • Valente Custodio, former Assistant vice-president for Internal Audit;
  • Jesselyn Durante-Quizon, former assistant manager for Legal; and,
  • former Executive Assistant Erwin Genuino, son of Ephraim Genuino.

The following were included as respondents in the complaint:

  • BIDA Foundation official Mario Cornista,
  • Rodolfo Soriano Sr.,
  • Emilio Marcelo,
  • Philip Beltran,
  • Luis Guerrero,
  • Olive Soriano,
  • Jesus Velmonte,
  • Carol Matsuda,
  • Los Banos, and,
  • Laguna vice-mayor Josephine Sumangil-Evangelista.

Officials of VIVA Communications, Inc. were also charged, namely:

  • Vicente del Rosario Jr, chairman and CEO;
  • Marcia Gina Lopez, corporate secretary;
  • Hermie Go, associate producer and road manager;
  • Ma. Theresa Santiago, comptroller and accountant; and,
  • Tony Magtoto, sales and distribution representative.

PAGCOR alleged that payments made by Bida to VIVA productions representing its share in the production cost were "eventually charged to PAGCOR through committed ticket sales."