PAGCOR Chairman Denies Graft Allegations Over Missing E-Sabong Bond
Alejandro H. Tengco, Chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), has vehemently denied allegations of graft in connection with a missing PHP75 million ($1.32 million) performance bond posted by an E-Sabong (online cockfighting) company.
The allegations prompted legal action against Tengco and other members of the PAGCOR board of directors.
A Welcoming of Charges
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Tengco expressed his willingness to address the charges. He stated that he welcomes the filing of charges and views it as an opportunity to uncover the truth behind the missing bond and to establish accountability within the agency.
While Tengco found it unusual that he and others were implicated in the alleged charges, he assured that PAGCOR would conduct its own investigation. The primary objective is to ascertain the facts and bring any wrongdoers to justice if any irregularities are discovered.
Charges and Respondents
Joaquin Sy, who claims to be the chairman and chief finance officer of Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings, Inc., filed charges that include malversation of public funds, qualified theft, and falsification of private and commercial documents before the Ombudsman. Alongside Tengco, other named respondents are former PAGCOR chief Andrea Domingo, former board members Gabriel Claudio, Carmen Pedrosa, Reynaldo Concordia, and James Patrick Bondoc, as well as current PAGCOR officer Dianne Erica Jogno.
Notably, two of the former board members, Pedrosa and Concordia, had passed away at the time of the alleged disappearance of the PHP75 million in July 2022. Tengco assumed office only in August of the same year. He clarified that the agency had not received any formal complaint from the Ombudsman but had initiated an internal investigation into the matter.
Tengco explained that the agency is in the process of reconstructing the sequence of events surrounding the missing funds, particularly since the E-Sabong Licensing Department involved had been disbanded. Following the outlawing of e-sabong by former President Duterte in May 2022, personnel from the department were reassigned to other units.
In conclusion, Tengco assured the public that despite the events occurring before his tenure at PAGCOR, the agency is committed to uncovering the truth and responding to the accusations appropriately. Once the agency receives a copy of the alleged charges from the Ombudsman, it will address the matter in the proper legal venue.