Pacquiao to ask Duterte to release PSC’s share of PAGCOR funds

Senate Committee on Sports Chairman and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquaio and Senator Loren Legarda give words of encouragement to the members of the Philippine Chess Olympiad Team, headed by Asia’s first grandmaster (GM) Eugene Torre, during their visit to the Senate on Tuesday, August 30, 2016. Torre and the other members of the Philippine’s men and women’s chess teams will fly out to Baku, Azerbaijan tomorrow to compete for the 42nd World Chess Olympiad which will be held from September 1 to 14, 2016.(MNS photo)

Senate Committee on Sports Chairman and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquaio and Senator Loren Legarda give words of encouragement to the members of the Philippine Chess Olympiad Team, headed by Asia’s first grandmaster (GM) Eugene Torre, during their visit to the Senate on Tuesday, August 30, 2016. Torre and the other members of the Philippine’s men and women’s chess teams will fly out to Baku, Azerbaijan tomorrow to compete for the 42nd World Chess Olympiad which will be held from September 1 to 14, 2016.(MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Manny Pacquiao and officials of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to release the PSC’s share of funds from the annual income of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) as mandated by law.

Under Republic Act (RA) 6847 or the Philippine Sports Commission Act, “five percent of the gross income” of PAGCOR “shall be automatically remitted directly” to the PSC.

During the hearing of the Senate Committee on Sports however, PAGCOR explained that the five percent remitted to the PSC is computed from the deducted 15 percent of government share.

PSC chairman William Ramirez said he intends to raise the matter with the President.

Senator Manny Pacquiao, chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, discusses a proposal which seek to establish the Philippine Boxing Commission. “Considering the growing popularity of this sport and the number of champions it has produced for the country, it is about time that we give attention and consideration to this sport and to all our professional boxing champions,” Pacquiao said.(MNS photo)

Senator Manny Pacquiao, chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, discusses a proposal which seek to establish the Philippine Boxing Commission. “Considering the growing popularity of this sport and the number of champions it has produced for the country, it is about time that we give attention and consideration to this sport and to all our professional boxing champions,” Pacquiao said.(MNS photo)

“Based on the law, five percent of gross income of PAGCOR must be remitted to the Philippine Sports Commission. Nobody should change the law…We’ve been complaining that the law has been violated for so many years,” Ramirez told the Senate panel.

“I will write the President to release that money, copy furnished to the chairman of PAGCOR, bago mag-Pasko,” he added.

Pacquiao, chairman of the Senate committee, said he would also meet with Duterte regarding the matter.

“Can you commit the five percent? Hayaan ninyo banggitin ko ‘yan, mag-set ako ng appointment kay Presidente. Sundin ninyo ang batas natin at sundin n’yo trabaho n’yo,” Pacquiao told PAGCOR representatives present at the hearing.

PAGCOR Assistant Vice President for Community Relations Arnel Ignacio, for his part, said they would gladly remit to the PSC its rightful share of funds once they are directed by the President.

Ignacio explained that the issue had been raised before the Supreme Court (SC), and that former Fidel Ramos had reduced the PSC’s share to 2.5 percent during his administration. The rest of the proceeds then were channeled to the President’s Social Fund.

Former Pampanga representative Yeng Guiao had filed a petition last April before the SC against the PAGCOR and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for their supposed failure to remit what was due the sports commission under RA 6847.

“Kami sa PAGCOR, sinunod lang namin yung directive noon. At ngayon, we’re waiting for the directive from the President. We never had that…Hindi ito pinagmamatigasan. Kumbaga, nag-a-antay lang kami,” Ignacio explained.

Pacquiao said PAGCOR should have remitted five percent of its gross income after the Ramos administration as there was no amendment to the existing law.

“Ang batas ay batas. Iyan ang dapat sundin kung wala namang amendment,” Pacquiao said.

Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said PAGCOR risks facing charges under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for misinterpreting the law.

“Malinaw sa batas na five percent of gross income shall be given to the PSC. Wala nang iba. There’s no need to interpret this,” Densing said.

“This can be a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on the issue of negligence. Maari silang kasuhan,” he added. (MNS)

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