Coffee Anyone?

by Juan L. Mercado

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,” the poet T.S. Eliot once wrote. But then, the 1948 Nobel Laureate never heard of our Philippine Amusement & Gaming Board.

President Benigno Aquino says Pagcor’s Efraim Guenio and his board brewed 10 million cups of coffee — and billed Filipino taxpayers P1,007,408,908.86.

Ten million cups o’ java could put the Philippines back into “Guinness Book of Records”. The last time we held a Guinness slot was after People Power One. Under its “Crime” section, Guinness noted the Marcoses made off with $800 million.

Since then, details about the caffeine scandal have steamed to the surface. Pagcor poured out the billion bucks in 12 tranches between 2001 and 2009, Commission on Audit reveals. Coffee bills ranged a high of P172,819,600 in 2005 to a low of P83,403,251 for first half of 2010 — just before the presidential elections.

Promolabels Specialty Shop, owned by Carlota Cristi Manalo-Tan, bagged concessionaire contracts to put up Figaro coffee shops in seven Pagcor-operated casinos. “Where can you find a coffee shop that earned P700 million?” The President said when he saw COA figures.

Before leaving Malacanang, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo extended midnight appointment to Genuino as chairman and CEO, his board, even the Palace gardener. Genuino served in that capacity since 2001.

Genuino offered to “brief” the incoming President on Pagcor. But P-Noy showed him the door, as he did Armed Forces chief of staff Maj. Gen. Delfin Bangit.

Shortly thereafter, the cheeseburgers and fried chicken scam erupted. In just eight days, Pagcor sent P21.1M worth of burgers and chicken to Philippine National Police, Inquirer reported…

Pagcor also picked up tabs for Wack-Wack Golf & Country Club membership dues of three board members, “Meals taken at that club, EDSA Shangri-La Hotel and Le Soufflé Restaurant came to P1.23M,” Commission on Audit found. The agency spent 1.65M from discretionary funds for meals at “various media functions.”

While Pagcor officials lolled in five-star comfort, the number of ill-fed underweight children increased to 3.3M. Most clustered in six regions, namely Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Soccsksargen, the 7th National Nutrition Survey found. There were 3.35M who were stunted.

“I like my coffee strong, not lethal!”, protests the army doctor in Ring Lardner’s satirical movie “M*A*S*H”. A COA table that reveals 23 Pagcor officials treated themselves to bonuses and allowances that exceeded already hefty salaries is strong coffee indeed. The table below speaks for itself:

 

Name

Position

Total

Amount

Annual Basic Pay

Annual total perks*

Ephraim Genuino

Chairman & CEO

P3,714,816.20

952,032.48

2,762,783.72

Rafael Francisco

President& COO

3,596,473.15

952,032.48

2,644,440.67

Rene Figueroa

SVP**

2,310,311.11

616,620.48

1,693,690.63

Jose Benedicto

VP**

2,494,112.87

616,620.48

1,877,492.39

Carlos Bautista, Jr.

VP

2,440,093.04

583,079.04

1,857,014.00

Joselito V. Mendoza

VP

2,333,462.51

583,079.04

1,750,383.47

Visitacion Mendoza

VP

1,765,943.07

583,079.04

1,182,864.03

Ester Hernandez

VP

1,611,897.79

583,079.04

1,028,818.75

Estela Ramos

VP

1,567,841.49

550,064.53

1,017,776.96

Emilia Padua

VP

1,540,173.10

583,079.04

957,094.06

Roberto Castro, Jr.

VP

1,514,727.20

583,079.04

931,648.16

Edward King

VP

1,502,147.59

583,079.04

919,068.55

Jose Tulio

GM**

2,162,653.10

583,079.04

1,579,574.06

Alexander Betita, Jr.

GM

2,157,827.55

583,079.04

1,574,748.51

Roberto Reyes

GM

2,147,444.46

583,079.04

1,564,365.42

Dario Cordero

GM at large

2,111,319.93

583,079.04

1,528,240.89

Rogelio Bangsil, Jr.

GM

2,059,378.67

583,079.04

1,476,299.63

Andres Lizares

GM

1,990,653.10

583,079.04

1,407,574.06

Danilo Cuneta

GM

1,989,234.63

583,079.04

1,406,155.59

Ernesto Francisco

GM

1,932,657.86

569,655.00

1,363,002.86

Alexander Ozaeta

GM

1,932,657.86

569,655.00

1,363,002.86

Philip Lo

BOD Member

1,363,550.47

419,264.88

944,285.59

Manuel C. Roxas

BOD Member

1,363,550.47

419,264.88

944,285.59

TOTAL

23 officials

43,888,111.02

13,828,316.77

33,774,610.45

 

Coffee anyone?

(Email: juanlmercado@gmail.com )

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