GLORIA MACAPAGAL Arroyo will go down in Philippine history as the president who made gambling the third biggest source of government revenues, after taxes and customs duties.
Under her watch over the last seven years, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has grown into a humongous money — and power — machine. Until now the monopolistic state gambling agency, Pagcor’s gross revenues of P13 billion in 2001 more than doubled to P26.83 billion in 2007, or an average annual growth of 18 percent.
THE MAN behind Bloombury Investment Ltd.’s supposed foreign partner has in recent months launched aggressive moves to expand his inherited multibillion-dollar gaming and media empire.
But he has done so at a time when his rank on the lists of Australia’s richest billionaires lists has been sliding steadily.
A COMPANY that has neither track record in the gaming business nor proven financial capability to back up a multibillion-peso enterprise is poised to become the newest investor in the ambitious “Tourism City” project of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
But what Bloombury Investments Ltd. lacks in these top two criteria for investors in the Pagcor project, it more than makes up for in terms of political connections, based on records of the state-run corporation itself, as well as information from those privy to the deals.
VIRGILIO Garcillano will go down in history as the election official whose wiretapped conversations mortally wounded a president. He disappeared from public view in the second week of June, as the controversy over the wiretaps heated up, and many may have a hard time recalling what he looks like. Yet his raspy voice, distinctive lisp, and thick Visayan accent are now embedded in the audio memory of millions of Filipinos who have listened to the “Garci” tapes.
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