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Ex-PAGCOR execs sued for plunder

  • Written by Hector Lawas
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 318

THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) yesterday filed a P234 million plunder and graft case against former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) Chairman Celestino Caguiat and 10 other officials in connection with the alleged anomalous P3.2 billion lease contract they entered into with a private firm for a non-existent casino gaming facility.

In a complaint filed with the Department of Justice, VACC claimed that the lease contract that Pagcor awarded to Vanderwood Management Corporation (VMC) in 2015 was “highly-irregular and anomalous.”
   
The group claimed that the 6,500 sq-meter-lot subject of the lease contract was within the portion of the Museo Maynila Complex, formerly Army and Navy Club and is owned by the Manila City government.
   
The property, according to the complaint, was leased by the city government to Oceanville Hotel and Spa Corporation sometime in January 2014.
   
“The amount of P234,000,000 was paid to VMC representing 12 months advance rental and six months security deposit atP13,000,000 per month pursuant to the lease contract, despite the fact that the premises to be leased was not existing at the time of the execution of the contract,” the complaint read.
   
“Considering that there was no leased premises to speak of, the disbursement of P234,000,000 was irregular and, therefore, disallowable in audit pursuant to Commission on Audit Circular No. 2012-003 dated October 29, 2012,” it added.
   
Aside from Caguiat also named as respondents in the complaint were former Pagcor  chairman Jorge Sarmiento and board members Jose S. Tanjuatco, Enriguito M. Nuguid, and Eugene G. Manalastas; members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC)  Milagros Pauline L. Visque, Ramon Jose E. Jones,  Romeo R. Cruz, Jr. ,  Annalyn Zoglmann,  lawyer Kathleen G. Delantar; and VMC president Manuel B. Sy.
   
The VACC also questioned the bidding committee’s decision to qualify VMC in the post-qualification process despite its non-submission of certain documents and non-compliance with certain conditions under the technical requirements of the bid.