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CA upholds Waterfront bid for casino hotel license

THE Court of Appeals has affirmed the ruling by trial court directing the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to issue a license to Waterfront Philippines Inc. to operate a casino hotel as part of the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Manila Bay Integrated City Project, formally known as Entertainment City Manila.

In a 19-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Samuel Gaerlan, the CA’s Sixth Division found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Presiding Judge Armando Yanga of Branch 173 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in  Manila in granting the petition for mandamus filed by Waterfront Philippines in his
August 1, 2017 order.

The appellate court held that Pagcor has the ministerial duty to act on Waterfront’s application considering that it has completed all the requirements for its project application, including the agency’s demand for it to deposit $100 million cash in any commercial bank.

Waterfront filed the petition for mandamus on March 12, 2015, after Pagcor refused to act on its application despite its submission of all the necessary documents and  repeated demands.

“In this case, we find that the RTC rulings supported by factual and legal justifications, thereby negating the imputation of grave abuse of discretion on its part,” the CA ruling said.

“Considering that no additional documents were further required to be submitted, Waterfront is deemed to have completed the requirements for its project application, which warranted the review and evaluation thereof,”
it added.

The CA also sustained the award of P100,000 as moral damages, as well as P100,000 as exemplary damages to Waterfront, which is eying to build the Grand Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

It stressed that the trial court’s decision should be implemented without delay, especially the issuance of a provisional license to operate in favor of Waterfront, “which license is similar to those granted to Resorts World in Manila, City of Dreams, Solaire Resort and Casino and Okada Manila.”

“All told, our finding remains that there is no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC in issuing the assailed decision and resolution. Accordingly, this Court agrees that the same are already final and executory,” the CA said.

Pagcor, through its former chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Efraim Genuino, had conceptualized the building of a $20-billion casino and tourism complex located on approximately 100 hectares of reclaimed land along Roxas Boulevard and Manila Bay in Parañaque City.

In connection with this, Pagcor published in September 2007 the terms of reference for the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Manila Bay Integrated City Project.

Waterfront subsequently submitted and filed with Pagcor its proposal on the proposed Grand Water Hotel and Casino and complied with the other requirements imposed by the agency.

In 2011 Waterfront sent Pagcor two letters seeking action on its application for provisional license, but the agency failed to act on its demands prompting the former to file a petition for mandamus.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Celia Librea-Leagogo and Maria Filomena Singh.

source: https://businessmirror.com.ph/ca-upholds...l-license/
2019 SMP Charity/Tsinelas & School Supplies Donation Drive link http://stockmarketpilipinas.com/thread-5...#pid345588


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