Prosecutors have asked the special court that tries official corruption in the Philippines, for permission to drop one of three graft charges prosecutors had filed against Efraim Genuino, the former chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the Manila Bulletin newspaper reports.
Pagcor is the gaming regulator in the Philippines and runs nine casinos in major urban areas and another 31 establishments that it classes as “satellite casinos”. It also oversees private-sector venues.
On Friday the newspaper reiterated previous media reports that the aggregate of the original charges against Mr Genuino arose from the alleged misappropriation of about PHP37 million (US$687,851) of government funds designed to support Filipino swimmers who competed in the 2012 Olympic Games. The charges stemmed from a complaint filed by the Philippine Swimming League in 2011.
The newspaper report said that – in the latest development in the matter – the prosecution side told the court one of the charges against Mr Genuino was redundant because the substance of it was covered by one of the other charges.
The duplicated issue related to an accusation that Mr Genuino, other Pagcor officials and the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association conspired to have PHP9 million of Pagcor money given directly to the swimming association. The Manila Bulletin said the Philippine Sports Commission was meant to distribute the funds.
The prosecution had in June 2016 charged Mr Genuino and other former officials of Pagcor in connection with the matter. The other accused former officials are a former Pagcor president and operations chief, Rafael Francisco; a former senior vice-president, Edward King; a former executive vice-president, Rene Figueroa; a former vice-president, Ester Hernandez; and a former assistant vice-president, Valente Custodio.
The special court, the Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corruption charges against public officers and employees, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations.
Mr Genuino was chairman of Pagcor until June 2010 but the investigations into the organisation’s behaviour while under this leadership are apparently continuing. Last year, evidence of alleged corruption relating to Pagcor operations was apparently turned over to the government.
When former national president Benigno Aquino took power in June 2010, the Sandiganbayan opened an inquiry into Mr Genuino’s conduct during the period when Gloria Arroyo was the country’s president.
In March last year, the Sandiganbayan said it had probable cause to proceed with a trial against Mr Genuino for alleged perjury. He was accused of failing to disclose four real estate lots in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth made during the period 2002 to 2005.
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