Sandiganbayan rejects ex-PAGCOR chief Genuino’s appeal for reversal of guilty verdict

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 09 2023 02:59 PM

MANILA — The Sandiganbayan 3rd Division rejected the appeal of former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chairperson Efraim Genuino for the reversal of the guilty verdict on his graft case involving P37 million funds for swimmers in the 2012 Olympics.

Earlier this year, Genuino, including former PAGCOR President and Chief Operations Officer Rafael Francisco and Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for giving unwarranted benefits to the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA).

In the information filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2016, P37 million PAGCOR funds were disbursed to PASA to pay for the aquatic training facility at the TRACE Aquatic Center (TAC), a business allegedly owned and controlled by Genuino and his family.

The motions for reconsideration filed by Francisco and Ramirez were likewise denied by the court in its resolution promulgated on June 8, 2023.

“After a careful review of the evidence presented, the court finds that the prosecution was able to prove that accused Genuino, Francisco and Ramirez acted with evident bad faith and manifest partiality in facilitating the release of PAGCOR funds directly to PASA instead of coursing it through the PSC,” the court said.

The resolution penned by Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno.

The court also rejected the argument of the accused that the subject funds are not public funds as they were sourced from the 5 percent franchise tax or the 50 percent share of the government in PAGCOR’s income.

“These were already passed upon by the court in its assailed decision after a careful consideration of the pieces of evidence presented by the parties,” the court said.

The court also refused to give weight to the allegation of the accused that there was inordinate delay on the initial investigations done by the Office of the Ombudsman.

“Case law teaches that they should have raised the issue of inordinate delay at the first instance and not after a judgment of conviction has been rendered against them,” the court said.

Meantime, in a separate resolution on another set of cases of Genuino which are still undergoing trial also at the 3rd Division, the court denied his request to re-open the presentation of his evidence.

In his 19 graft and 20 malversation cases stemming from the use of PAGCOR funds for BIDA Foundation including the purchase of “Baler” movie tickets, Genunino asked to be allowed to testify that he did not sign any of the vouchers and checks presented by the prosecution, among others.

“In sum, accused-movant Genuino failed to raise any new and/or substantial matters that would warrant the grant of his motion for reconsideration,” the court said.

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