PAGCOR Corruption Allegations Rumored in Philippines, as Pastor Boy Saycon Strikes Again

Posted on: March 17, 2017, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: March 17, 2017, 11:00h.

PAGCOR, the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation, is being accused of corruption after Pastor Boy Saycon turned over evidence to the country’s Department of Justice.

PAGCOR corruption Rodrigo Duterte
If Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is convinced former PAGCOR officials engaged in graft, he’ll likely pursue the ousted gaming officials to the fullest extent of the law (or maybe a little more). (Image: Noel Celis/Getty Images)

Saycon is no ordained religious leader, but the secretary-general of the Council of Philippine Affairs. He’s reportedly provided documents to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that shows PAGCOR engaging in bribery and other unlawful practices. The allegations stem from before President Rodrigo Duterte took office.

Though Aguirre let media outlets in the Southeast Asian country know that he indeed had been delivered documents detailing potential illicit activity, he refused to name names in the report or expand on the potential crimes. “I will still have to study the documents,” Aguirre explained.

However, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, high-level officials in the prior administration failed to properly disclose contributions and expenditures.

PAGCOR is a federal agency that is under the president’s oversight. Upon taking control of the country in July, Duterte replaced the five-member board with his own appointees.

Duterte Duty

PAGCOR operates its own state-run casinos and slot machine clubs in major cities throughout the Philippines. Though Duterte began his administration by announcing an all-out war on illegal drugs and gambling, as well as licensed internet gambling operator PhilWeb, he’s now instructed PAGCOR to make the country a premier gaming and entertainment destination in Southeast Asia by 2020.

But the controversial president, who’s been accused of violating human rights for his “death squad” law enforcement and “shoot first, ask questions later” approach, Duterte remains focused on eliminating corruption. That doesn’t bode well for whoever might be named in the PAGCOR investigation.

Last fall, the president opened up a corruption texting hotline. But what seemed like a noble cause came with a Duterte twist: the complaints, regardless of their merit, are aired on a government-run public access television station for all to read.

“All you have to do is text what office, whether local or national, who is the official causing the (crime),” Duterte explained last fall. “There is no issue against me with regard to graft and corruption. Women, yes, but money, no.”

Penalties for public officials engaging in corruption are severe in the Philippines. A host of charges come with imprisonment sentences of up to 10 years each.

The Pastor What?

Pastor Boy Saycon is a longtime political operative who has worked on various campaigns and issues.

Today, the 66-year-old is reportedly one of Duterte’s closest allies, and is working to uncover corruption that the president so dearly wishes to destroy.

Saycon came into Duterte’s favor when he produced allegations of voter fraud during last May’s election. The secretary-general said a witness told him 200,000 votes in the Quezon Province were counted for Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas instead of properly recorded for the newly elected president.

The alleged fraud didn’t impact Duterte’s landslide victory. He received 39 percent of the vote to Roxas’ 23.5 percent and independent candidate Grace Poe in third with 21.4 percent.