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The Pagcor Swim Fund Anomaly

/ 12:22 AM December 11, 2016

In January 2009, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) accused the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (Pasa) of violating the PSC law by drawing funds directly from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

The PSC claimed in a statement that Pagcor substantially reduced its monthly share from P44,022,883.61 to P30 million due to the automatic deduction made by Pagcor to cover the P10 million it gave to Pasa in 2008.

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Section 26 of Republic Act No. 6847, or the Philippine Sports Commission Act, states that only the PSC can disburse funds to national sports associations like Pasa, now Philippine Aquatic Sports Association.

In January 2010, the Commission on Audit (COA) wrote Pagcor that “there was no basis or authority for Pagcor to release funds directly to Pasa.”

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The COA also ruled that “the liquidation report submitted by Pagcor was not signed/approved by Pasa officials” and that the disbursements were not properly supported by documents.”

Pagcor officials said the agency’s cash aid to Pasa was approved by then Philippine Sports Commission Chair William “Butch” Ramirez in a memorandum.

Former PSC Chair Harry Angping cut Pagcor’s direct financial assistance to Pasa in 2009, when he took over the sports agency.

Pasa chief Mark Joseph denied any wrongdoing while Ramirez washed his hands off the case, saying his involvement in the agreement was “purely ministerial.”

Graft and corruption charges

In January 2011, former Sen. Nikki Coseteng, a key supporter of Pasa rival Philippine Swimming League, filed graft and corruption charges against Joseph for failing to liquidate public funds and for acting as a “laundering machine” for former Pagcor chief Efraim Genuino.

Included as the accused in the charge sheet filed by Coseteng, swimmers and their parents were past Pagcor board officials headed by Genuino.

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A huge part of the funds Pasa received from Pagcor was used to pay Trace Aquatic Colleges in Los Baños, Laguna, for the training and board and lodging of the national swimmers.

Trace is controlled by the Genuino family and the former Pagcor chief once served as a member and president of its board of trustees.

In June 2011, new Pagcor officials filed charges against past Pagcor officials for similar corruption allegations.

Aside from Genuino, Joseph and Ramirez, also named respondents were former Pagcor president Rafael Francisco; former Pagcor board directors Philip Go, Danilo Gozo and Manuel Roxas;  former executive vice president Rene Figueroa, former vice president Ester Hernandez, former assistant vice president Valente Custodio and former senior vice president Edward King.

They are facing complaints of graft, money laundering, technical malversation and violation of the forfeiture law.  —INQUIRERRESEARCH /SOURCE: INQUIRER ARCHIVES

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TAGS: charges, corruption, Pagcor, PSC
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