CA rebukes PAGCOR and TRAL for Cease-and-Desist Order against Kazuo Okada’s board

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IN a resolution, the Court of Appeals (CA) ordered the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL), their agents, representatives and all persons acting on their behalf, to “immediately cease and desist from performing any and all acts that interfere with, impede and obstruct the proceedings before the CA.”

The CA resolution stemmed from the cease-and-desist order issued by Chairman and CEO Al Tengco and the new PAGCOR board that resulted in the removal of the Kazuo Okada-led board from Okada Manila, which the CA found to be impeding on its work.

The CA, in a resolution issued September 7, 2022, partly granted the Extremely Urgent Motion for a Cease-and-Desist Order, and the Supplemental Omnibus Motion to the Extremely Urgent Motion for a Cease-and-Desist Order against PAGCOR filed by petitioner Okada.

Okada’s legal team posited before the CA that the Hajime Tokuda-led Board of Directors and their cohorts acted with impunity, in utter bad faith and with brazen disregard of the proceedings before the CA and the Supreme Court (SC) setting a very dangerous precedent in which an administrative agency such as PAGCOR may intervene and interpret pending issues without any imprimatur from the courts, Okada said in a statement sent to FrontpagePH.com.

It said the continued implementation of the PAGCOR letter dated September 2, 2022, also undoubtedly obstructs the CA from performing its mandate to determine factual matters relevant to the case. The actions of the PAGCOR board of directors embodied in said letter, the statement further read, muddles the issues as it precipitates a change in the composition of the board of directors of TRLEI, a factual matter which was specifically mentioned in the SC resolution.

Other highlights contained in CA Resolution G.R. SP No. 174770, the statement said, that while PAGCOR admittedly has regulatory authority over the operations of Okada Manila, it encroached upon the CA’s role as “a trier of facts” when it issued the directives in the letter of September 2, 2022, which TRAL is now invoking to justify the latter’s equally disruptive actions. “Such contumacious conduct should not be countenanced,” according to the CA.

PAGCOR and TRAL were also ordered to account for the documents (i.e., corporate records, general information sheets, audited financial statements, etc.) which came into their possession as a result of the incident/s in Okada Manila on September 2, 2022.

While the CA agreed “in some ways” that the acts of the Tokuda Board and PAGCOR were done in bad faith and intervened with the authority of the CA and the (SC, the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction (WPI) and/or Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) should be raised with the SC, which issued the Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO).

The statement further read that Okada’s legal team will be filing the appropriate motions with the SC for the issuance of the WPI and/or TRO against the Tokuda Board, PAGCOR and other persons responsible for the illegal September 2, 2022, takeover.

It should be recalled that the issuance of the PAGCOR order on September 2 was a complete reversal of its previous recognition of Okada’s board members, as well as PAGCOR’s neutral position in the intra-company dispute. In fact, Atty. Roderick Consolacion, PAGCOR’s chief legal counsel, contradicted his own letter dated May 4, 2022, when he categorically told the lawyers of the contending groups that “it is for the Supreme Court to resolve the merits of the pending case.”

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