PAGCOR urged to take neutral stance in Okada Manila row

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC) and Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. (TRAL), the parent companies of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) which operates Okada Manila, urged the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to take a neutral stance in the ongoing intra-corporate dispute in the casino resort complex.

“We urge Pagcor to adopt a neutral stance in the intra-corporate dispute and be more mindful of its mandate as a GOCC (government owned and controlled corporation). The public can rest assured that UEC, TRAL, and the legitimate board members of TRLEI will not relent in exhausting all legal remedies to right the wrong that has recently been committed against the company and protect the interests of all stakeholders,” UEC said in a statement.

At the center of the issue is the return of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada in TRLEI’s Okada Manila in Paranaque after losing control of the casino resort in 2017.

In a June 1 statement, Okada Manila said the reinstatement of Okada was by virtue of the status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court on April 27, 2022.

In compliance with the order, Okada re-installed the board of directors and officers of TRLEI. The board was recognized by Pagcor, the gaming regulator, as the legitimate board and officers of TRLEI consistent with the SQAO.

However, the ousted board led by TRLEI co-vice chairman Michiaki Satate is trying to regain control and has criticized Pagcor for allegedly siding with Okada.

Pagcor has acceded to Okada’s request to deny any attempt by the current management of TRLEI to transfer and/or assign assets and funds from the casino operations without prior approval of the new board constituted on May 2, 2022.

“Pagcor is not permitted to exercise its regulatory powers by favoring a party in an intra-corporate dispute, a matter well within the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” UEC said in its statement.

The ousted board also said it is not covered by the status quo order obtained by Okada’s group as the order refers to the state of affairs that existed before.

“The SQAO neither authorized nor empowered Kazuo Okada, more so his cohorts, to install a new board of directors or officers. The status quo in 2017 in no way includes the newly installed board of directors and officers,” UEC said in its statement.


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