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MANILA - State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. on Tuesday said it is filing before the Office of the Ombudsman plunder and graft charges against three former executives and a casino coffee concessionaire over excessively priced coffee products that were sold in Casino Filipino branches during the previous administration.
In a statement, Pagcor said it is suing former chairman Efraim Genuino, former president Rafael Francisco, former senior vice president Rene Figueroa, and Promolabels owner Carlota Cristi Manalo-Tan.
Citing a 25-page complaint cleared by the Pagcor board, the state gaming monopoly said directors Jose Tanjuatco and Enriquito Nuguid signed and filed the complaint.
In its complaint, Pagcor said Genuino, Francisco and Figueroa directed Casino Filipino branches “to enter into concession agreements with Promolabels with a view towards enriching themselves and coffee concessionaire Manalo-Tan through the sale and purchase of overpriced Figaro coffee products, to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people.”
Pagcor said Genuino approved a resolution on May 16, 2001 granting the proposal of Figaro Coffee Co. to set up coffee kiosks in its Casino Filipino branches wherein the prices of beverages “will be similar to the prices in the malls.”
Pagcor said its previous board gave Figaro franchisee Promolabels concession agreements in seven Casino Filipino branches. Manalo-Tan signed the agreements on behalf of Promolabels while Genuino and Francisco signed most of these contracts on behalf of the casino branches.
Manalo-Tan is the wife of Johnny Tan – a known ally of Genuino and a second nominee of the BIDA party-list, a political group identified with Genuino during the 2010 national elections.
Pagcor said the seven contracts – which gave Promolabels a virtual monopoly as coffee supplier in the casinos – were awarded to Manalo-Tan without public bidding contrary to law. The same contracts were renewed also without benefit of a bidding.
Investigation ordered by the current Pagcor board showed that the prices charged by Promolabels for its Figaro coffee products were much higher than the prices at which the same products were sold by Figaro coffee shops outside the casinos over a four-year period, thus going against the original resolution issued by the previous board on May 16, 2001 that the selling price should be similar to that in malls.
“For the years 2005 to 2008 alone, Pagcor could have saved at least P78 million if only the prices of Promolabels’ Figaro coffee products were the same as those of other Figaro franchisees,” the state firm said.
Pagcor said Genuino, Francisco and Figueroa were “repeatedly informed of the losses being suffered or incurred by the Casino Filipino branches as a result of their transactions with Promolabels, and they refused or otherwise failed to act to stem or prevent further losses.”
The state gaming monopoly said Commission on Audit reviews raised a number of concerns regarding the contract with Promolabels, including the absence of a public bidding.
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