POGOs

‘No idea why’: Porac POGO lists Harry Roque as legal representative

Lian Buan

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‘No idea why’: Porac POGO lists Harry Roque as legal representative

Former presidential spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque accompanied by Lorraine Badoy's husband Walter and Jeffrey 'Ka Eric' Celiz' wife Rogilda, files a petition of habeas corpus and certiorari at Supreme Court on Monday, December 11, 2023, following the alleged illegal detention of Badoy and Celiz at the House of Representatives.

Rappler

Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque maintains his only engagement as lawyer is to Whirlwind, the company leasing its compound to the POGO Lucky South 99

MANILA, Philippines – A document of the newly-raided Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) in Porac, Pampanga, lists former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque as its legal representative, Rappler has learned, but the lawyer maintains he has no direct link to the company.

‘No idea why’: Porac POGO lists Harry Roque as legal representative

Rappler obtained a document by the Lucky South 99, the POGO in Porac found to have trafficked and tortured workers, which lists its officials. On the fourth tier below the President, the Corporate Secretary, and the Board, were several names including Harry Roque as “legal.”

“No idea why, not aware of that chart,” Roque told Rappler in a text message on Sunday, June 16, when asked about the document.

Roque maintained that his only engagement was for Whirlwind Corporation, the real estate firm incorporated in 2019 and the one that’s leasing the Thai Royal Court compound in Porac to Lucky South 99.

Roque said he was engaged in October 2023 by Whirlwind when the company lost its ejectment case in the regional trial court. Roque’s counsel to Whirlwind is ongoing as they seek to annul the lower court judgments before the higher courts. “We lost in the Court of Appeals and we will go to the Supreme Court if denied,” Roque said.

Roque said he was “retained” by Whirlwind by “Cassy Ong.” Cassy Ong is Katherine Cassandra Ong who has transacted with the government on behalf of Lucky South 99. The Lucky South 99 document that lists Roque as legal also lists Ong as authorized representative.

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“I have no engagement with Lucky [South 99] other than it is a lessee of Whirlwind,” said Roque.

Asked if he knew or had an inkling that Whirlwind and Lucky South had the same interests, Roque said to refer to their ongoing Court of Appeals (CA) case that details the dispute that Whirlwind is embroiled in.

The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) earlier found another document in the raided compound that has Roque’s marks on it. It was an October 2023 sponsorship letter for the visa application of a former Palace staff, which he said would accompany him to an event on peace process in Kiev, Ukraine.

Roque has explained that the staff may have once lived in the compound, which is a commercial complex that has restaurants and karaoke, and may have left the document there. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.