Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hotel sues over closure; Pagcor welcomes rap

By Allan Macatuno - Inquirer

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Legend International Resorts Ltd. (LIRL), a hotel and casino operator, has filed criminal charges against officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. following the closure of its casinos here.

“The Pagcor men were very rude and they forcibly entered the [Legenda] casino, and harassed our security staff and hotel guests,” said Khoo Boo Boon, LIRL chief executive officer.

Lawyer Angeline Ifurung, LIRL vice president and legal head, filed cases of harassment and contempt against officials of the state gaming agency at the regional trial court in Olongapo City.

Ifurung questioned the order issued by Pagcor, saying a proper court should have served the closure order instead of Pagcor.

Pagcor revoked the LIRL’s provisional authority to operate casinos inside the freeport after the firm refused to remit to Pagcor the guaranteed minimum amount of P5 million a month as provided for by a 2000 amendment to the company’s license to operate.

Pagcor granted the provisional authority to LIRL on March 17, 2003.

Carlos Bautista Jr., Pagcor senior managing head, said the company’s debt to Pagcor since March 2001 had reached more than P365 million, including interests.

SBMA police escorted Pagcor officials in Legenda casino and padlocked the building’s main door. They also served the closure order against Grand Seasons Casino.

Bautista said Pagcor welcomed any charges that the LIRL would file against Pagcor and its employees.

“We are duty-bound to revoke the company’s provisional authority and immediately stop all its casino operations,” he said.


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