Aquino continues to play blind to Naguiat’s culpability

Aquino swears in trusted friend and classmate

President Aquino misses the point in the Wynn Resorts controversy when he reduced it into just losing one prospective investor.

Aquino said he won’t lose sleep if Wynn, whose intra-corporate fight with his partner, Kazuo Okada, exposed the bribes showered by the latter to officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation including the current chair, Cristino Naguiat, Jr., does not invest in the Philippines because there’s a long list of foreign investors interested to come.

Aquino preferred to play blind to the issue of unabated corruption raised in the investigation report made by former Federal Bureau of Investigation Louis Freeh commissioned by Wynn Resorts such as, despite his anti-corruption agenda, “Official corruption in the Philippine gaming industry is ‘deeply ingrained.’

The report mentioned a member of the board of Wynn Resorts recalling Okada’s statement that “Conducting business in the Philippines was all a matter of ‘hiring the right people’ to pay other people.

Aquino is dreaming if he believes his anti-corruption rhetoric has eliminated corruption in the government. That is something that might affect the decision of those in the long list of prospective investors that Aquino was boasting about.

How Aquino handles allegations of corruption involving his kaibigan, kamag-anak and kabarilan would help guide businessmen how to conduct their business in the country.

Aquino has declared innocent his Naguiat, his college classmate whom he appointed chairman Pagcor,one of the government’s cash cows, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, of allegations of unethical behavior by accepting cash and other gifts from one of the firms that Pagcor is regulating.

The allegations surfaced in the intra-corporate war between Steve Wynn, chief operating officer of Wynn Resorts, and his former partner Okada, whose Universal Entertainment Corp is putting up a casino at the Manila Bay.

Freeh’s investigation revealed that just like his predecessor, Efraim Genuino, Naguiat has been a recipient of the generous hospitality of Wynn Resorts in their gambling facility in Macau.

Freeh’s investigation showed several trips by Naguiat in Macau. But the most staggering was the Sept. 22-26, 2010 trip of Naguiat to Wynn Macau that cost Wynn resorts more than $50,000. That included stay in the $6,000 a night villa.

Naguiat was accompanied by his wife, Maria Teresa Socorro Naguiat, their three children and their nanny.

The Naguiats were accompanied by another Pagcor official Rogelio Bangsil, who also brought along his wife.

On June 6 to 10, 2011, Mrs. Naguiat, unaccompanied by her husband, was also hosted by Wynn resorts.

The President has not asked Naguiat to resign even as he belatedly asked Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to investigate Wynn’s allegations of bribery.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said it was up to Naguiat to decide whether to heed the calls for a leave of absence, or even resignation.“Any call for resignation [or leave] for any office, we leave it to the discretion of the official [concerned]. Bahala na sya diyan,” she said.

Naguiat and Okada

Naguiat said Monday that he is not resigning insisting that he has done nothing wrong. “Hindi (mag-reresign). Wala akong ginagawang masama,” he said Monday after getting support from members of the House of Representative and of all people, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Sen. Gregorio Honasan.

Reiterating that it is “industry practice”, Naguiat said there’s no conflict in his job as gaming regulator and accepting favor from a firm that he is regulating.

“Para sa isang kwarto, para sa isang maliit na kwarto, $2 billion ang investment nila [Okada's Universal Entertainment], nakakatawa naman na ma-impleuwensiyahan ako sa isang kwarto,” he said.

Maliit lang pala na kuwarto, why didn’t he just pay for it?

If there was nothing wrong in what he did he hide his identity when he checked in that $6,000 a day villa?

Here’s a portion of the Freeh report which said Naguiat was identified as “Incognito”. Incognito means without being known; in disguise; in an assumed character.

“Chairman Naguiat did not identify himself and Mr. Okada’s representative insisted that his stay there be ‘Incognito.’

“Accordingly, the bulk of the charges for the trip are reflected on the City Ledger Account as attributable to ‘Suzzane Bangsil,’ the wife of Rogelio Bangsil, a senior Pagcor official and Chairman Naguiat’s employee. However, interviews,photo indentification and documentary evidence clearly establish that Chairman Naguiat was the “Incognito”guest and direct beneficiary of these payments.

“Investigation has in fact determined that Chairman naguiat was registered as an ‘Incognito’ VIP guest with Suzzane Bangsil’s reservation. Therefore, this US$50,523.22 was paid for Chairman Naguiat’s benefit.”

February 29, 2012 12:24 am  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Graft and corruption, Malaya

291 Responses

  1. xman - February 29, 2012 12:34 am

    Off Topic:

    Aerial view of massive INC Grand Evangelical Mission (GEM).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUSqKa0D66s

  2. Tedanz - February 29, 2012 1:27 am

    #1
    Di kaya pakita lang ng grupong ito na sila ay nagkaka-isa at baka yong ibang Senator-Hukom ay kakagat at baka yong boto nila ay para hindi i-impeach itong hinayupak na kanilang kinakampihan. Malapit na kasi ang eleksiyon at kailangan nila ang boto ng grupong ito …. di kaya? :(

    At tungkol naman dito kay Naguiat, hayaan na lang. Mahirap talaga maging isang Pangulo. Mahirap namang basta basta na lang magtatanggal at siyempre pa mahirap din namang pipili ng bagong kapalit. Isa na dito si Naguiat. Hayaan na lang natin ang mga butihing mga Senador at Kongressmen ang mag-iimbestiga. Marami kasing pera ang kalaban ni Pnoy …. kaya puro silip dito at silip doon. Marami silang pambayad.

    Gawin ninyo ay magka-isa para malinis ang mga sagabal na itinanim ng nakaraang Administrasyon.

    Kita niyo ang INC nagka-ka-isa para kay Corona.

  3. chijap - February 29, 2012 2:44 am

    So for Wynn to get against Okada (who is a director for Wynn), he supposedly exposed a bribery case made by Okada on a non-Wynn project.

    Ok… I guess you follow the money, sino yung magbebenefit if Okada and the current PAGCOR people are not in position or “exposed” to be bad people?

    Ma’am Ellen, what was the result of Ochoa’s investigation on this matter?

  4. hawaiianguy - February 29, 2012 4:25 am

    Well, what can one do? Nabisto na si Naguiat na tumanggap ng bribe. Eh di tanggalin na ni Pinoy.

  5. tomtorres - February 29, 2012 6:53 am

    I kind of believe in Naguiat’s statement that the accomodation which was offered to him by the Jap business partner of Wynn was industry practise.

    Why?

    For an ordinary person like me, when me and wife went to Vegas, we checked in at Golden Nugget, a Steve Wynn casino, and were only billed for our gorgeous room, about $40 a night. It was because it was part of Wynn’s marketing strategy, an industry practise in the casino business: low, give away accomodations in five star hotels, so people would check in and spend money in the casinos.

    So I believe in Naguiat’s statement: He was offered a room because he was attending a conference, and remember Naguiat is a big name in Casino.

    This issue has been blown up, of course, for political expediencies, and bec. it was Wynn and Jap who were concerned.

    I don’t know Naguiat, but from what I read, he’s been good at the helm of Pagcor.

    And I’m just wondering: isn’t the $1,600 for a group dinner just peanuts for a gathering of casino magnates. And the $110 thousand “bribe” daw.

    Kung totoo siguro ito, dapat siguro mas malaki ang suhol. What is about 4 million pesos? Ang liit naman ng suhol na ito.

  6. TonGuE-tWisTeD - February 29, 2012 8:27 am

    Okada has bought land in that prestigious project and broke ground just in January. I assume construction is already underway. Some P400M serious money already spent on buying the land alone, based on a franchise awarded during Genuino’s term.

    What’s left for Naguiat to do is to award the gaming franchise.

    Now, Naguiat can use that opportunity to nail down Genuino and his bastards Bombase, Camacho, and Soriano from the Filipino-fronted “partners” in the local company that is going to run the operations in the new casino and he can replace them with his or Pnoy’s choice.

    Or they can choose straight and narrow path and reject Wynn, Okada, and Genuino, altogether.

  7. parasabayan - February 29, 2012 9:25 am

    Larong casino talaga…heh,heh,heh. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win! Akala siduro ni Wynn eh siya ang papaboran. Yan nagalit tuloy!

  8. Ellen - February 29, 2012 10:11 am

    Tom,re # 5.you are a customer/client, not a regulator which Naguiat is.Malaking pagkaka-iba nyan. Ethics in governance.

    If you are a regulator, you are not supposed to accept favors from the one you are regulating. Basic yan kahit anong business.

    If the industry practice is dirty, you are not obliged to practice that especially if your government has as its main agenda reforms and drive against corruption. Tuwid na daan, di ba?

  9. Ellen - February 29, 2012 10:13 am

    Tongue, re #6: Now, Naguiat can use that opportunity to nail down Genuino and his bastards Bombase, Camacho, and Soriano from the Filipino-fronted “partners” in the local company that is going to run the operations in the new casino and he can replace them with his or Pnoy’s choice.

    Or they can choose straight and narrow path and reject Wynn, Okada, and Genuino, altogether.

    I don’t think Naguiat chose either of the options you mention. He just continued what genuino and company were doing. Same dog, different collar.

  10. Phil Cruz - February 29, 2012 12:11 pm

    As I understand it, in our local set-up the head of Pagcor holds both positions of regulator and casino operator.

    That is a strange anomalous situation, isn’t it? That’s how it has always been ever since. And it should be corrected.

    As a regulator, the head should not indulge in such things as allowing himself and his family to be given these freebies.

    As casino operator, puede siguro, if these are standard freebie privileges given to all casino operators. But there are limits. And these should be specified.

    But still to be safe, and to walk the straight path, don’t accept such freebies. Simple.

  11. Rudolfo - February 29, 2012 4:03 pm

    Ang masasabi ko sa mga KKK ( kaklase-Kaibigan-Kabarilan )ni Pangulong PNoy, huwag namang garapal sila, sa pag-take advantage sa “kahinaan” ng pangulo..Napapahiya ang kanilang ka, KKK sa buong Pilipinas at sa mundo. Huwag palagi na naka-kapit sa ” pantalon” dahil sensitive ang pwesto, bilang pangulo ng bansa. Si Pangulong PNOy naman, huwag agad-agad, in matters of hours-days, huhusga na ang ka, KKK niya ay matitino, dahil walang perpikto sa mundo. Kailangan, mag-imbistiga muna, kung mali di “resign” from postings, alisin na ang “serving at the pleasure of the President”. Masisira ang “Pagtutuwid ng Landas”, kapag, may-halong mga “sagabal” na nandyan lang sa kanyang harapan.Saan nga ba patutungo ang Pilipinas, kung mahina ang leadership ng mga kina-uukulan.

    Bumabato ng “putik” sa naka-raang halos 10-taon ni GMA, ngunit baka, mas-maputik ang lalakaring 6-na-taong pagtutuwid sa pamamagitan ng “Wang-Wang principle” ???..my food for thought.

  12. tru blue - February 29, 2012 4:13 pm

    At #5: Wynn sold the Golden Nugget more than 10 years ago, and if you paid $40 a night, must have been on slow days, Sunday thru thursday.

    Won’t even billet Chijap/fartsee in that hotel, wink!

  13. MPRivera - February 29, 2012 5:42 pm

    In the Philippines, seeking justice for the penniless is like digging his own grave. Bilang agad ang mga araw kapag binangga ang mga bigating bagyo sa kinakapitan, magiging pataba sa bukid ang labas. It’s also like pulling a bayawak pasalungat sa lungga and pamamana ng mosquito in the dark. Palibhasa’y mahirap, mahirap talagang makasumpong ng patas na laban kumpara sa mayayaman, masalapi, maimpluwensiya at may kinakapitan sa gobyerno lalo’t ang kakilala ay isang chief justice. The moneyed and influential do not have to seek it because justice is offered to them on a golden platter with matching background pa ng kantang “Only You”. They can also get it on a buy one, take one and eat all you can offer. May discount pang unlimited time immunity, basta nasa kapangyarihan si kumpare. Katunayan pa sa isang panig, kahit walang imbestigasyon sa kabila ng kabikabilang singaw ng anomalya ay pinipilit pang pagtakpan at i-absuwelto ng nakapuwestong kaibigan, kabarilan, kaklase at may dapat bayarang loob na inutang.

    Kanino tatakbo ang isang ordinaryong Juan kung ‘yung mga magkakatunggali sa kapangyarihan ay walang inaatupag kundi ang paglilinis ng dumi ng bawat kakampi at hinahayaan na lamang nakatunganga habang nakatingalang parang mga asong gusgusing naghihintay ng mga tirang wala ng lasang pagkain ang mga pobreng kumakalam ang sikmura sa gutom at uhaw?

    Tuwid na daan? Nasaan?

  14. chi - March 1, 2012 2:39 am

    Naguiat is no different from his predecessor Genuino. If he was, he would have at least taken a leave of absence right after the news broke out.

    Naguiat is having a heydey in Pagcor, and with the unconditional support of his classmate Pnoy, he is there to enjoy more. Kaya yung dalawang maayos na options ni Tongue #6 ay malayong gawin nila.

    Delicadeza is only for those with strong moral character which unfortunately is so lacking among many elected and appointed officials in the public service.

  15. hawaiianguy - March 1, 2012 5:40 am

    There is only one decent thing for Naguiat to do – RESIGN. This is the way to prove that he is unlike the others who go by the usual kalakaran. PNoy must also avoid the temptation of treating those accused as innocent. Dapat tanggalin niya agad.

  16. Mike - March 1, 2012 4:52 pm

    Baka pag wala na sila pwesto, si Naguiat ay magiging Nagulat na dahil sa patung-patong na asunto laban sa kanya. :P

  17. MPRivera - March 1, 2012 6:12 pm

    # 12

    tru blue, behave.

    baka ma-contempt ka niyan, hala ka!

  18. Ang Say Koh - March 6, 2012 10:13 am

    lahat ay NORMAL, NATURAL at WALANG MASAMA para sa mga tropang KKKna pinamumunoan ng isang SABLAY!

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