The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) is keen on welcoming Japanese casino mogul Kazuo Okada into the Philippines, but it won’t do so at the expense of the laws and tenets imbibed by the country’s constitution.
According to PhilStar.com, the government agency is prepared to withhold the casino license of Okada if the billionaire investor does not comply with the Philippine Constitution. Despite being granted a provisional license, Okada has yet to receive a permanent license that would allow him to begin operations of the multi-billion dollar casino project that’s currently being planned to rise as part of Pagcor’s Entertainment City project.
Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat told the House appropriations committee that Pagcor is prepared to make a stand if Okada refuses to abide by provisions in the Philippine Constitution that limits him and his foreign companies to own only 40% of the land where the hotel and casino complex will rise.
“We will not issue him his license if there is a finding that there is a violation of our Constitution. He will not be allowed to start his operations,” Naguiat said.
According to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), Okada and his foreign companies control as much as 64 percent of the two suspected dummy corporations, Eagle 1 and Eagle 2, that own the land where the multi-billion dollar gaming complex is expected to be built on. Furthermore, the OGCC also said that there have been some allegations that persons associated to former Pagcor chairman, Efraim Genuino, also own part of the two companies.
This situation could end up becoming much more serious now that Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño has called for a suspension of the casino deal involving Entertainment City. In the deliberations, Casiño didn’t mince his words on what he thinks Pagcor should do in light of this investigation.
“Considering the seriousness of the anomalies unearthed regarding the P13 billion land acquisition for the project which involves the suspected dummy corporations Eagle 1 and Eagle 2 owned by Okada and persons closely associated with former Pagcor Chairman Efraim Genuino, there is also the issue of conflict of interest by Genuino who granted the provisional license for Okada’s Tiger Entertainment Co.,” he said.
“It would be best for Pagcor to suspend the projects pending the outcome of investigations.”