Guevarra denies hand in Okada case reversal

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) denied allegations that Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra intervened to reverse the outcome of the case filed by Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Incorporated against Japanese casino mogul Kazuo Okada.

In a statement on Thursday, December 20, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said Guevarra did not influence the criminal indictment of Okada by the National Prosecution Office (NPC).

On December 7, the DOJ found probable cause to indict Okada for 3 counts of estafa for allegedly getting more than $3.1 million in company funds without authority from the board.

The Parañaque prosecutor's office earlier junked the complaint filed by Tiger Resorts last May 11 as it supposedly constituted an intra-corporate dispute.

Sources said Guevarra showed "particular interest" in the dismissed charges when his son, Menardo Guevarra Jr, was hired by Tiger Resorts to handle legal conflicts and media management.

Sources added that the younger Guevarra's hiring came 3 months after his father was appointed justice secretary last April.

But Perete said there is no conflict of interest.

"The Secretary likewise assured the counsel for both parties that the engagement of his son by Tiger Resorts would have no bearing in the resolution of their cases, and that these cases will be resolved with utmost impartiality," Perete said.

He added that the father and son did not discuss the cases in any way.

Still, Perete said Guevarra already asked his son to "seriously consider" resigning from Tiger Resorts to dispel speculations. –


Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.