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Pagcor bought 66 condo units worth P268M, says COA

First Posted 02:42:00 10/19/2010

MANILA, Philippines?El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde must have grinned ear to ear with the deal, but the Commission on Audit (COA) was upset.

The COA said that the acquisition by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) of 66 condominium units in Parañaque City worth P267.91 million in 2008, purportedly for its employees, was not only unnecessary but also unwise.

The COA said Pagcor should either use the units or sell them and stop buying properties that do not help its operations.

The units were bought from Amvel Mansions Condominium, owned by Velarde?s Amvel Land Corp., according to COA?s 2008 report.

The COA said the purchase of the high-end property, which cost P3.5 million to P6 million per unit, was not one of the agency?s objectives outlined in its charter since these were not necessary for its operations.

?Records also showed that as of audit date, these condo units were unoccupied and remained idle since their acquisition in 2008,? the COA said.

?Considering the time that has lapsed, it seemed that there were no interested takers and the very purpose for which these condo units were acquired was defeated and the property continuously depreciated without benefit to Pagcor. In short, the purchase of said condo units was not only unnecessary but also not a wise decision.?

The COA also said that the money used to buy the condominium units could have been used for revenue generating or priority projects that would help Pagcor.

The cost of the units depleted the agency?s resources and put it further in debt, since it also had to acquire loans to pay for the property, it added.

Rooms for VIPs

Pagcor told the COA that one of the reasons for the purchase was to provide rooms for the very important guests of its Parañaque operation, the only branch that had no hotel accommodations for its choice clients.

Pagcor earlier said that it bought the units in order to provide affordable and decent housing for its employees.

The COA also found that Pagcor had failed to remit its mandatory contributions to various offices and programs.

Pagcor still has a balance of P178 million that it has to give to the Museum Endowment Fund (MEF) of the National Museum, the COA said.

The National Museum Act of 1998 requires Pagcor to provide P250 million from its annual net earnings to the MEF for special programs.

Aid for child care

Pagcor was also required under a 2000 law to appropriate a total of P2 billion, or P400 million every year for five years, to the Early Child Care and Development (ECCD) program.

But records show that only P1.847 billion had been recorded as contributions to the ECCD council from 2002 to 2009, COA said.

Pagcor is also mandated to provide P300 million for a gasoline station training and loan fund under the oil deregulation law, but only P60 million has been released to the Department of Energy, the COA said.

Pagcor, for its part, said that it was waiting for the liquidation report of the previous remittances, which is why it has not released the remaining balance.

But the COA said the liquidation of previous remittances should not be a precondition for the release of the balance of its mandatory contributions, since the laws do not require liquidation prior to the allocation of the rest of the funds.

Pagcor has committed to allocate the funds for the ECCD and to set up allocations for the National Museum. It has also vowed to review its implementing rules and regulations regarding its mandatory contributions.

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