Lawmaker: Pals of gambling syndicate bribed Pagcor officials

MANILA -- The leader of the gambling syndicate who illegally pocketed some P160 million from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) in May allegedly has a Filipino girlfriend and a right-hand man bribing officials of the gaming firm.

In Tuesday's hearing of the House committee on justice, opposition lawmaker Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay said that Ben Lui, the leader of the casino syndicate, has a girlfriend named Maria Zerra Hao and a right-hand man named Redin Capilan. Both of them escaped with Lui to Macau when Pagcor busted their operation inside its casinos.

Three months ago, Pagcor caught Lui's group after they were seen in closed-circuit television cameras using a device that could scan the cards of the dealer.

Pagcor filed syndicated estafa charges against Lui’s group but the Parañaque City Prosecutor’s Office downgraded the charges to simple estafa allowing the respondents to post bail. Pagcor has a pending petition before the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the decision of the city prosecutor.

After the reported death of Lui in Macau early this month, Hao and Capilan have reportedly returned to the country but are afraid to come out with the truth in identifying Pagcor officials being bribed for fear of their safety.

Magsaysay said, several Pagcor branch managers also attended parties sponsored by Lui in his penthouse in Cleveland Condominium in Roxas Boulevard.

"This is their way of bribing the Pagcor officials so they would be lenient on him," she said. (Sunnex)

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