Palace clears Pagcor chief, says he’s victim of casino war
Presidential spokesperson says Pagcor chief went to Macau as a 'casino operator,' not as a regulator.

MANILA, Philippines – He was in Macau as a “casino operator,” not as a “casino regulator.”

Because of this, the government said Cristino Naguiat Jr, chair of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), did not violate the Code of Conduct for public employees when he and his family stayed – courtesy of Wynn Resorts, a casino operator – for 4 nights in Wynn Resorts in Macau in September 2010.

“When he went to Wynn Macau, there was a gaming convention of casino operators and, if you know how it goes, casino operators are provided accommodations elsewhere,” said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. “If they come here as casino operators, the casino operator is also given the same accommodation. There is no ethical violation because he was there as a casino operator and not as casino regulator,” Lacierda told a news briefing.

He continued: “Now, as to the amount that is being said, again Chairman Naguiat has no knowledge of what the value of that—the room that he stayed in. So, again, he was also surprised at the amount of the alleged room per day.”

An investigation made by Wynn has alleged that the company shelled out US$6,000 a night for Naguiat’s stay. Read details of the Code of Conduct for public employees here.

Naguiat was accompanied by his mother, wife and children during that visit. Lacierda again defended this: “And, I also mentioned this already—and Chairman Naguiat already mentioned—that he worked ‘til the weekend and so the family, the mother, the wife and the children…  but Chairman Naguiat paid for the travel expenses of his family.”

In short, the Palace said Naguiat is just a “collateral damage” in the “intracorporate controversy between Mr. Steve Wynn and Mr. Okada.” –


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