Appeals court to Pagcor: Don’t muddle Okada Manila proceedings

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Appeals court to Pagcor: Don’t muddle Okada Manila proceedings
The Court of Appeals says Pagcor's move to reinstate the old board of Okada Manila is obstructing the process of determining factual matters relevant to the case

MANILA, Philippines– The Court of Appeals (CA) has barred the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) from supposedly obstructing the proceedings related to the boardroom tug-of-war in Okada Manila.

Pagcor recalled its earlier decision recognizing the board backed by Japanese pachinko tycoon Kazuo Okada and Filipino businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco. On September 2, Pagcor reinstated the deposed board of Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), Okada Manila’s operator which is backed by parent company Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL). 

The CA Tenth Division issued a cease-and-desist order, which said that Pagcor’s reinstatement of Okada Manila’s old board “obstructs” the court from performing its “mandate to determine factual matters relevant to the case.”

“The action of the Pagcor Board of Directors embodied in said letter muddles the issues as it precipitates a change in the composition of the Board of Directors of TRLEI, a factual matter which was specifically mentioned in the SC (Supreme Court) resolution,” the CA said.

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The CA is still resolving the TRAL-backed board’s contentions regarding the Supreme Court’s status quo ante order (SQAO) secured by the Cojuangco-backed board. 

The SQAO has directed the parties to observe status quo prevailing prior to Kazuo’s removal as stockholder, director, chairperson, and chief executive officer of TRLEI. The TRAL-backed board insisted that the SQAO did not give Okada the power to appoint Cojuangco and other officials.

The CA’s Tenth Division likewise barred Pagcor from allowing TRAL and its representatives from inspect the following:

  • Corporate records of TRLEI, including its contracts with landlord, suppliers, and contractors
  • Documents involving TRLEI’s alleged intention to list Okada Manila International (OMI) in the United States
  • Papers showing TRLEI’s purported plan to transfer its casino business permit to OMI
  • Documents involving the supposed waiver of TRLEI’s leasehold rights over the land on which Okada Manila is situated
  • The general information sheets and audited financial statements of Okada Holdings Limited, Universal Entertainment Corporation, TRAL, and TRLEI
  • Other papers, documents, and receipts relevant to its duty of determining the factual matters of the case

The CA added that Pagcor and TRAL’s actions have “far-reaching effects on the efficiency of its proceedings, noting that it had to halt its process of receiving evidence in order to hear the incident.” 

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Why Pagcor intervened

Pagcor’s intervention was prompted by a legal opinion issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ), upholding its power and authority to act on the appeal of TRAL. 

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said that Pagcor’s decision to recognize Okada as stockholder, director, chairman, and chief executive officer of TRLEI did not authorize the Japanese businessman to overhaul the board. Remulla’s opinion and the assertion of the TRAL-backed board are alike.

The Supreme Court has already clarified the scope of its SQAO, noting  that it merely recognized Okada’s interest in TRLEI as an indirect beneficial owner. –

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