Aussie firm files raps vs ex-PCSO execs.
An AUSTRALIAN company has filed a graft suit against former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Chair Margarita Juico for revoking an existing joint venture agreement on the production of lotto paper and awarding the contract to an unqualified party.
Former PCSO Director Aleta Tolentino was also named in the suit filed in the Office of the Ombudsman by TMA Australia Pty. Ltd. and TMA Group Philippines.
Anthony Kiram, an Australian national and representative of the TMA group, said Juico and Tolentino caused undue injury to TMA Australia, which had entered into a contractual joint venture agreement with the PCSO in December 2009 to supply thermal coated paper, synthetic substances and related products, and had relocated its factory to the Philippines.
Kiram said the former PCSO officials not only disregarded a legal contract entered into by officials of the Arroyo administration but also entered into another contract that was grossly disadvantageous to the government because the new contractors were not paper manufacturers.
The PCSO board's actions under Juico and Tolentino were in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, or Republic Act No. 3019, Kiram said.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Juico declined to comment, saying she had not yet received a copy of the graft complaint. She added that the decision to terminate the TMA contract was a collective decision of the PCSO board.
Juico, a former appointments secretary of the late President Corazon Aquino, was among President Benigno S. Aquino III's first appointees in July 2010. She resigned a year ago reportedly over differences with the President, who replaced her with former Cavite governor and Liberal Party stalwart Erineo Maliksi.
TMA Australia secured a restraining order and eventually a preliminary injunction from the Makati Regional Trial Court to stop the PCSO from canceling the joint venture.
According to Kiram, the PCSO board entered into a contract with Philippine Gaming Management Corp. (PGMC) and Pacific Online Systems Corp. (POSC), companies whose businesses involved leasing and operating lotto terminals, to supply lotto paper.
They knowingly granted the right to provide lotto paper in favor of PGMC and POSC despite the fact that (these companies) were not qualified, said Kiram.
Aside from holding them criminally liable, TMA Australia also asked the Ombudsman to hold Juico and Tolentino administratively liable for grave misconduct, abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.