House leaders question Aquino’s close friend and former PAGCOR Chairman on P3.2 billion lease contract
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) is being scrutinized by House leaders for leasing a 6,500 square meter property from Vanderwood Management Corporation for Php 3.2 billion, which equals to a Php 13 million monthly rental for 15 years.
Photo credits: Mindanation
The lease contract was materialized under former Pagcor Chairman Cristino Nagiuat who is a close friend of former President Benigno Aquino III. The House committee on good government and accountability chaired by Rep. Johnny T. Pimentel (2nd District, Surigao del Sur) is now putting Nagiuat under question based on House Resolution 708.
Reports have revealed that the Php 3.2 billion lease contract entered into by Pagcor with Vanderwood is already paid for with Php 234 million in advance which covers 12 months of rental. This is despite the absence of a constructed building.
The property was originally leased by the City Council of Manila to Oceanville Hotel and Spa Corporation for Php 300,000 which the latter leased later on for the same amount to Vanderwood despite a stipulation in the contract prohibiting a sublease.
The irregularities in these transactions has drawn questions from the House committee with House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez demanding “why did Pagcor lease a ghost property? Wala pa yung structure, bayad na sila (Vanderwood). Ano rin ang relasyon ng Vanderwood at Oceanville para umupa ka ng lupa for P300,000 at ipasa sa isa na the same amount at wala kang kita?”
Another issue raised was that Vanderwood lacked some documentary requirements to legally own the property which put Pagcor’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) under question if they were forced to award the contract of lease despite the anomalies in the bidding process.
Pagcor Vice President for Human Resource and Development Department Lizette F. Mortel admitted that Vanderwood was disqualified for failing to submit some documents, but was able to produce the same two days after. BAC was not forced to award the bidding to Vanderwood, instead, since Vanderwood was the lone bidder for the contract of lease, it was eventually awarded to them
With these loopholes in the contract, Vanderwood is not recognized by the government as the legal owner of the lot. Instead, it still belongs to Oceanville despite the lease contract.
Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas questioned resource persons if the Manila City government approved of the decision to convert the illegally-owned Vanderwood property into a casino because the original contract between the City Council of Manila and Oceanville was to construct a “world-class lodging, dining, entertainment facility and other amenities”.
Commission on Audit (COA) reports point out the conditions by which a notice of disallowed payment was issued against Pagcor and these were 1) the premises were non-existent at the time the contract was signed; 2) the advance rental of 12 months and six months security deposit is more than the condition in previous lease contracts which only require six months advance rentals; 3) Vanderwood was not the owner of the lot; and 4) non-compliance of Vanderwood by non-submission of required documents.
These transactions are marked as serious violations of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act. It has also made House leaders reconsider if plunder should be put back in the coverage of the death penalty.
House leaders question Aquino’s close friend and former PAGCOR Chairman on P3.2 billion lease contract Reviewed by Newsinfo Learn on February 15, 2017 Rating: