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CA rules against PAGCOR in licensing dispute with Waterfront

ca rules against pagcor in licensing dispute with waterfront 816x445 - CA rules against PAGCOR in licensing dispute with Waterfront
PAGCOR 103118 - CA rules against PAGCOR in licensing dispute with Waterfront

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has denied an appeal by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to reverse a previous decision which called on the regulator to issue a license to operate to Waterfront Philippines, Inc. for its proposed hotel-casino.

In a two-page resolution on April 22, the CA former 6th division affirmed its October 2018 decision saying the arguments raised by PAGCOR had already been considered in the earlier decision.

“After carefully considering the grounds raised in the subject motion, We find that the said reasons and the arguments in support thereof have been amply treated, discussed and passed upon in the subject decision.

“The additional arguments proffered therein constitute no cogent or compelling reason to modify, much less reverse, it,” it ruled.

In its previous decision, the CA affirmed the 2017 decision of Judge Armando A. Yanga of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 173 which ordered PAGCOR to immediately issue a provisional license to operate and approve Waterfront’s application and proposal for the Grand Waterfront Hotel and Casino pursuant to the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Manila Bay Integrated City Project.

This stemmed from the March 2015 petition for mandamus of Waterfront which claimed that there had been no action on the part of PAGCOR despite its submission of all the documents for the project in compliance with the April 23, 2008 letter of PAGCOR.

The documents included the project proposal, company profile, and cash deposit of $100 million, among others.

The court said in the decision that it is “ministerial on the part of PAGCOR to act upon Waterfront’s application,” noting that Waterfront has complied with PAGCOR’s requirements.

“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,” the CA had ruled earlier.

The court also awarded Waterfront P100,000 each for moral and exemplary damages.

The resolution was written by Associate Justice Samuel H. Gaerlan and concurred in by associate justices Celia C. Librea-Leagogo and Maria Filomena D. Singh. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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