Miriam wants probe on $5M bribe to Genuino’s bagman

FEISTY Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago today filed a Senate resolution urging a legislative probe on allegations that former Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman Efraim Genuino and former consultant Rodolfo Soriano received millions of dollars in bribes in connection with a $2-billion casino project in Manila Bay.

“The banner headline in a newspaper today reported that Soriano, who is allegedly Genuino’s “bagman,” was paid millions of dollars by Universal Entertainment Corporation when it was lobbying the government for tax breaks and other concessions for its planned casino on Manila Bay,” Santiago said.

Santiago said Genuino and Soriano should explain and account for the alleged millions of dollars they received from Universal.

She said they could be facing up to ten years imprisonment, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the government of any unexplained wealth if found to have violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Santiago also said that she was aghast that a mere consultant such as Soriano appeared to have been representing Pagcor and negotiating with Universal for a $2-billion dollar project.

She said Congress should limit the powers of consultants in government-owned-and–controlled corporations (GOCCs), and penalize government officials who give blanket authority to consultants to transact on behalf of their agency or the Philippine government.

Santiago said that Genuino and Soriano may have violated Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code particularly on Direct bribery which defines as

“Any public officer who shall agree to perform an act constituting a crime, in connection with the performance of this official duties, in consideration of any offer, promise, gift or present received by such officer, personally or through the mediation of another, shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its medium and maximum periods and a fine [of not less than the value of the gift and] not less than three times the value of the gift in addition to the penalty corresponding to the crime agreed upon, if the same shall have been committed.”

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