Pimentel seeks Senate blue ribbon probe on PAGCOR being duped in third party auditor contract

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III has sought a probe into possible corruption and other violations by officials of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) involved in an alleged anomalous multi-billion-peso contract with a third party auditor.

Through Senate Resolution 443 which he filed Tuesday, Pimentel asked the Senate blue ribbon committee chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino to undertake the inquiry.

Pimentel cited the “questionable credentials and credibility” of Global ComRCI as disclosed by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian during the hearing of the Senate committee on ways and means yesterday.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) had tapped Global ComRCI to examine the earnings of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

Pimentel cited a statement of Gatchalian that Pagcor failed to vet the qualifications and competence of the third-party auditor, Global ComRCI, when it awarded a 10-year contract worth P6 billion in 2017.

Gatchalian’s ways and means panel committee has been probing the operations of POGOs in the country following a series of illegal activities linked to it.

The resolution further cited Gatchalian’s disclosure that Global ComRCI “has no office, lacks capital, has not been paying taxes, is not registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and has not complied with other requirements of the Terms of Reference provided in the biding documents of Pagcor.

Pimentel also noted Gatchalian’s remark that Pagcor might have been duped when it entered into the multi-billion pesos worth of contract with the said third-party auditor.

“It is apparent from the foregoing that the third-party auditor, Global ComRCI, is not legally, technically and financially capable to be a consultant of Pagcor as required under our procurement rules and regulations, and should have not been awarded for being ineligible and disqualified from the start,” he said in the resolution.

Even the Commission on Audit (COA), according to Pimentel, also found deficiencies in the processes of Global ComRCI in its audit of the Pogos in 2020.

“Considering the huge amount involved for a multi-year contract of this magnitude, this matter should be further investigated for possible malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance and corruption on the part of the Pagcor officials involved in the anomalous procurement of the said party auditor m and possible conspirators in the private sector,” he further stated in his resolution.