‘Nabudol’: Gatchalian says PAGCOR duped on third party auditor for POGOs

Published January 23, 2023, 4:26 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) was conned into a P6-billion contract for a third party auditor by Global ComRCI which was tasked to audit Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Monday, January 23.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said the 10-year contract was given to PAGCOR even though it presented questionable documents to the agency.

Even the Commission on Audit (COA) has also released its findings telling there were many inaccuracies with the third party auditor that PAGCOR contracted.

“Ang assessment ko in short, nabudol ang PAGCOR (In short, my assessment is that PAGCOR got conned),” Gatchalian said after the Senate Committee on Ways and Means hearing on the issue.

“Because they hired a third party auditor whose bank certificate was issued by a bank that is not registered with the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue). The technical capability has not been shown and it appears that the taxes are not being paid,” Gatchalian said partly in Filipino and English during an interview.

“The third party auditor is important because it collects data on how much we are paid, if the data they provide is incorrect, the BIR will not be able to collect the correct taxes,” he pointed out.

Global ComRCI, he noted has no office, has not been paying taxes. The so-called third party auditor also did not attend the Senate hearing. The panel also believe that the company submitted a fake bank certificate from Soleil Chartered Bank that it has $25-million fund.

The panel also found out that the third party auditor is not registered by the BIR.

There is also an apparent “willful avoidance” on the part of Global ComRCI when PAGCOR asked them to send a letter of tax information but the company did not comply, Gatchalian noted.

Gatchalian further said that PAGCOR should rescind its contract with Global ComRCI but expressed belief the matter should be further investigated by the Senate blue ribbon committee.