Alejandro Tengco, the Chairman and CEO of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), finds himself embroiled in a controversy involving the alleged disappearance of a PHP75 million (£1.0 million/€1.2 million/$1.3 million) performance bond. This bond, posted by an e-sabong company, has sparked a legal dispute, with Joaquin Sy, the Chairman and Chief Finance Officer of Kamura Highlands Gaming and Holdings, filing charges against Tengco and several former Pagcor personnel.
The charges brought forward include malversation of public funds, qualified theft, and falsification of private and commercial documents before the ombudsman. The alleged disappearance of the bond is said to have occurred in July 2022.
Notably, charges have also been filed against Dianne Erica Jogno, an officer, and several other former Pagcor senior staff members, including former Pagcor Chief Andrea Domingo and ex-board members Gabriel Claudio, Carmen Pedrosa, Reynaldo Concordia, and James Patrick Bondoc. It’s worth noting that Pedrosa and Concordia have since passed away since the incident last year, and Tengco assumed office in August 2022, a month after the alleged disappearance took place.
Following 88play‘s informations, the missing performance bond is linked to Kamura’s e-sabong operations from last year. Joaquin Sy asserts that he posted the bond at Pagcor’s Manila office through two manager’s cheques drawn from his personal bank accounts and payable to Pagcor. Sy stated that Pagcor issued official receipts and other documentation to confirm the posting of the bond.
However, following the suspension of e-sabong operations ordered by then-Pagcor President Duterte a few weeks later, Sy attempted to withdraw the bond but did not receive a response from Domingo. His efforts to recover the bond continued until July 10 of this year when he received verbal confirmation from Pagcor’s assistant vice-president for finance, Lolita Gonzales, that a cheque of the same amount as the bond had been issued in September 2022 in favor of an individual named Castro, which was subsequently cashed.
Chairman Tengco, while acknowledging that the incident occurred under the previous administration, has pledged to investigate the matter thoroughly and determine accountability within the agency. He expressed his commitment to uncovering the truth and bringing any wrongdoers to justice, despite finding it unusual that they are included in the alleged charges.
Tengco also mentioned that an internal investigation would take place, even without receiving a formal complaint from the ombudsman. He emphasized their intention to recreate the sequence of events, especially since the E-Sabong Licensing Department, the department allegedly involved, has already been disbanded.
In addition, Tengco highlighted that former President Duterte had prohibited e-sabong in May 2022, preceding the filing of the performance bond in July of the same year. He assured the public that they would get to the bottom of the matter and respond to the accusations appropriately once they receive a copy of the alleged charges from the ombudsman.