Casino hits 'pattern of favors' in Okada, Pagcor bribery
MANILA, Philippines – Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casino on Wednesday scored the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) seeming reluctance to pursue alleged bribery raps against a former PAGCOR consultant and rescind the gambling license issued to Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Casiño said a “pattern of favors” is emerging in the alleged bribes given to Pagcor officials and the incentives given to Okada’s Tiger Corp. He alleged the bribes include millions of dollars given to ex-Pagcor consultant Rodolfo Soriano; lavish hotel suites and free dinners to Pagcor officials; and rice donations given to the son of former Pagcor chairman Ephraim Genuino.
“May makikita ka na pattern ng favors given by Okada to Pagcor officials. It is the same pattern of favors given to Okada companies,” he said.
Casino said Tiger Corp. got a provisional license to operate despite violating a constitutional provision banning foreigners from owning land.
He said another incentive given by Pagcor is the declaration of the future gambling hub as an economic zone, which means no corporate income taxes for 4 years.
“That is why Okada bragged in March 2010 that Entertainment City will have higher earnings than Macau and Las Vegas because of the tax breaks they got from the Philippines,” he said.
Casiño admitted that one reason being cited for Pagcor’s seeming reluctance to pursue the case is because Okada’s investment in the Philippines is too big. Okada’s Tiger Corp committed to invest $1 billion in a casino and hotel project in the 100-hectare Entertainment City along Manila Bay.
“Whether they were bribed or because they are reluctant about losing the investment, it is clear that violations were made and this should not be tolerated,” he said.
Radio DZMM, December 12, 2012