DOJ urged to take over estafa raps vs. Okada

MANILA -- Okada Manila hotel operator, Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI), has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take over the investigation into the leakage of documents in the USD10-million estafa cases against gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada.

In a seven-page manifestation and motion, Tiger Resort on Friday asked Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to punish ParaAaque City Prosecutor Amerhassan Paudac for violating the rules and procedures, and the Code of Conduct for Prosecutors in handling cases before his office.

TRLEI earlier accused Paudac of bias and partiality for leaking copies of his resolutions dismissing the estafa cases against Okada, the dispositive portions of which landed on the social media accounts of Korean national Chloe Kim, who is believed to be Okada's girlfriend.

Tiger Resort is the owner and operator of the posh Okada Manila at the sprawling Entertainment City in ParaAaque, where Okada served as chief executive officer before he was expelled last year for reportedly embezzling more than USD10 million in company funds.

The company asked Guevarra to stop Paudac from investigating the leak, which he himself ordered, fearing a whitewash of the probe, and for the justice chief to assume jurisdiction over the case.

Last week, TRLEI sought the investigation of Paudac for the leaks, and demanded that the prosecutor recuse from the cases pending in his office.

Paudac subsequently inhibited himself but did not deny that the resolutions had indeed been leaked, and proceeded to officially release them, stressing that the resolutions are maintained.

Instead of completely turning over the records of the case to the DOJ and distancing from the case, Paudac formed a panel to look into the leakage and requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to make a forensic examination of Kim's social media accounts to determine if her posts are fake or not, and how and from whom said account holder was able to obtain said photographs.

The formation of an investigating panel when he himself would be investigated is improper, self-serving and unjustified, and would only preempt the investigation that should be conducted by the DOJ, TRLEI said.

It asked Guevarra to nullify Paudac's investigation order and restrain the panel from conducting the probe into the leakage.

It is the DOJ, not the panel formed by Paudac, that should properly investigate the leakage of resolutions that happened at the ParaAaque prosecutor's office, TRLEI said.

On her social media accounts, Kim posted photos of the dispositive and signature portions of the purported resolutions dismissing two estafa cases against Okada and other former officers of TRLEI with the caption: Devils will go the hell soon! 2 estafa cases against Kazuo Okada of Okada Manila dismissed. Justice prevails.

TRLEI said it is highly irregular how Kim, who is not even party to the cases, could have access to the resolutions as early as May 18.

Thus, logic dictates that the resolutions disposing the captioned cases could not have been leaked to respondent Okada and/or his close companion without the participation and/or fault of Paudac, TRLEI said.

Earlier, Guevarra ordered a probe into the incident, saying,I will look into this matter ASAP.

Premature disclosure of orders and resolutions prior to official release is not allowed unless there are compelling reasons that would sufficiently justify the same, he said.

Tiger Resort filed separate complaints for two counts of estafa against Okada before the ParaAaque City Prosecutor's Office and another charge of perjury before the Makati City Prosecutor's Office. It accused Okada of illegal disbursement of company funds amounting to more than USD3 million supposedly for his consultancy fees and salaries during his one-month tenure as CEO.

Okada had faced criminal charges for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law before the DOJ, which filed by the NBI during the previous administration. However, the case was not resolved and has reportedly been remanded to the NBI for reinvestigation.

Aside from the cases filed in the Philippines, Okada is also facing a string of cases in South Korea, Hong Kong and Tokyo, Japan. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency