PAGCOR chairman and 9 others charged with graft

PAGCOR chairman and 9 others charged with graft

The case is related to the disappearance of PHP75m in a performance bond posted by an e-sabong firm.

The Philippines.- The chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR), Alejandro Tengco, and nine other people have been charged with graft, qualified theft and the falsification of private and commercial documents before the Office of the Ombudsman. 

The others charged include chief of staff Dianne Erica Jogno, former PAGCOR head Andrea Domingo and former board members Gabriel Claudio, Carmen Pedrosa, Reynaldo Concordia and James Patrick Bondoc. The legal action stems from the alleged illegal release and disappearance of PHP75m in performance bond funds posted by an e-sabong (online cockfighting) firm.

The complainant, Joaquin Sy, who also serves as the chairman of the board and chief finance officer of Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings Inc., asserts that the performance bond funds went missing under questionable circumstances. He says he personally posted the bond at PAGCOR’s office in Malate, Manila, through two managers’ cheques drawn from his personal bank accounts with the intention of securing the bond for Kamura’s e-sabong operations.

However, complications arose when e-sabong operations were abruptly halted following an order by then-president Rodrigo Duterte. Sy sought withdrawal of the bond but received no response from PAGCOR. Despite several follow-up attempts, he remained without answers until July 10 of the following year.

Sy was informed that PHP75m had been issued in cheques in favour of another person and had been promptly encashed. Sy’s complaint maintains that government accounting procedures dictate the return of performance bonds to the corporation or individual who originally posted them. 

Although the alleged breach of protocol occurred during the tenure of former PAGCOR chief Andrea Domingo and the previous board, Tengco and Jogno are accused of obstruction of justice for “deliberately concealing the crimes and unjustly refusing to respond to the complainant’s letters within the prescribed period (by the law).”

According to records, Sy acquired majority ownership of Kamura in 2021. In February 2022, he was elected treasurer and chairman of the board.

See also: Philippines: 1,245 arrested over illegal online cockfighting

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