Items filtered by date: Sunday, 02 July 2017

Okada sues family in bid to regain gambling empire

By A Reuters Exclusive

Photo:Universal Entertainment Corp's founder Kazuo Okada poses for a photo near the venue of the company's annual general meeting in Tokyo, Japan, June 29, 2017. REUTERS File Photo

TOKYO – Japanese casino and slot machine tycoon Kazuo Okada has filed a lawsuit against his son, daughter and wife in Hong Kong in an attempt to regain control of his sprawling business empire, according to a court filing and Okada.

Okada, 74, told Reuters in an interview that he saw a lawsuit as the only way to get his son and daughter to the negotiating table after they took control of the board of a Hong Kong company at the center of his business holdings in May.

Okada Holdings Ltd, the Hong Kong company that is majority owner of Tokyo-listed gambling machine maker Universal Entertainment Corp, is also a defendant in the suit, according to the Hong Kong High Court online database, though Okada himself didn’t confirm that. It was unclear on what grounds the suit was brought and no other details were available from the court.

Okada declined to respond to questions about the details of the suit, which Reuters was unable to view, but said he believed he had been wronged by the move to push him out as director of Okada Holdings, a change that was registered on May 12, according to a public filing.

Okada said he hasn’t seen his son Tomohiro in two years and does not know his daughter Hiromi’s current whereabouts. Reuters was unable to reach either of them at addresses in public records. Both are Okada’s children from a previous marriage.

Okada said he hoped a lawsuit would prompt a judge to order them to negotiate a settlement that would restore his position at Okada Holdings.

“Unless I sue there will be no opportunity to talk. The reality is I am in a losing position in terms of voting rights,” Okada said, referring to his 46.4 percent stake in Okada Holdings, versus Tomohiro and Hiromi’s combined 53 percent.

Okada said he did not find out he was dropped as Okada Holdings’ director until May 18. He said Universal’s board told him on May 23 that he was being investigated for alleged misuse of company funds. That was followed by Universal’s announcement on May 31 that he would not be reappointed to its board. “I was totally blindsided,” Okada said.

The interview took place last Thursday in the restaurant of a Tokyo hotel where Universal was holding its annual shareholders’ meeting. Okada had been denied entry on the grounds he is not a direct shareholder since the Hong Kong holding firm holds his stake.

Universal declined to respond to Okada’s assertions. It said it would make additional disclosures once an internal investigation it recently launched to probe Okada’s alleged improper use of company funds had submitted its findings.

Cannot forgive

Okada said Tomohiro turned against him because his son believed he was not being paid dividends from Universal commensurate with his 43.5 percent stake in Okada Holdings. Okada said he planned to investigate the matter.
Okada said he was confident he could convince Hiromi to support him as long as he could get her brother to work towards a settlement.

As for his wife Takako, Okada said he could not forgive her for agreeing to be reappointed to Universal’s board. The company said Thursday that Takako would take on responsibility for Okada’s art museum and advise the company on its overseas business.

Takako, 43, did not respond to letters left at her home, an email sent to her company address, or a request to speak relayed through her mother.

Last month, Universal issued a press release accusing Okada and another director of misappropriating some $20 million in company funds in three transactions during 2015. It convened an investigative panel composed of three attorneys that is now looking for other alleged irregularities.

Okada described the company’s allegations as “nonsense”. For example, he said one of the transactions in question was a loan not due until November that had been used for a legitimate purpose: to expand junket operations aimed at attracting high-rollers to Universal’s casino in the Philippines.

“That contract is still active. There is no problem.” Okada said he could not provide a copy of the contract for Reuters to review because it was located at a company office to which he no longer has access.

Okada said he viewed the investigation as an attempt by Universal President Jun Fujimoto to seize control. Okada noted that he had handpicked Fujimoto to help lead the company founded five decades ago. “I made Fujimoto president. Now he wants to take over.”

Fujimoto called Okada “unfit” to be the director of a public company and vowed to prove that with “irrefutable physical evidence” in a private letter to a shareholder on June 21, Reuters reported last week.

Universal declined to make Fujimoto available for comment. Universal said it was not in a position to comment about Okada’s allegations against Fujimoto. Two new directors at Okada Holdings did not respond to emails seeking comment.


Denied of Grand Slam in the past, Yancy De Ocampo hopes to finally win one with SMB

By Rey Joble, InterAksyon

Photo: Yancy De Ocampo may be a reserve but among San Miguel Beermen players, he has the most extensive championship experience.

De Ocampo is an owner of nine titles, the second most among active players. He even came close to winning the Grand Slam three years ago.

The 2002 PBA top draft pick was part of the San Mig Coffee squad which won three straight championships in the 2013 Governors Cup, 2014 Philippine Cup and 2014 Commissioner’s Cup.

But he was traded midway through the 2014 Governors’ Cup which the Mixers also topped to complete their Grand Slam run.

“Pagka-opening halos ng tournament, na-trade ako. Bale nakakailang game pa lang, na-trade ako sa GlobalPort,” De Ocampo shared to InterAksyon.

But as fate would have it, the 6’9″ center is on the verge of finally winning the Grand Slam with the Beermen.

He has only played limited minutes during the Commissioner’s Cup finals, serving as a backup of three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo. But he doesn’t mind his role as long as he can contribute.

“Whatever it takes, gagawin naming lahat para makuha yun,” De Ocampo said.

“Lagi akong nasa bench eh. Kung ano yung mashi-share ko sa mga players na naglalaro, mga little things, motivation, sinasabi ko sa kanila. Nakikinig naman sila. Gumagaan pakiramdam ko kung yung teammates mo may respeto sa iyo.”

  • Published in Sports

DND chief: Mindanao martial law legal, will get SC nod

By Maricel Halili, News5 | InterAksyon

Photo: Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is seen in a Reuters interview at Camp Aquinaldo, February 9, 2017. The martial law administrator said he is confident the Supreme Court will uphold the legality of President Duterte's proclamation of ML in Mindanao. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

MANILA – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the legality of the 60-day martial law declaration in Mindanao, which marked its halfway point last week, as government troops continue pitched battles with extremists led by the Maute Group.

According to Lorenzana, he was there when Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo M. Año discussed the security aspects of the threat posed by the terrorists, and he is confident the Supreme Court appreciated this well.

The high court, he said, is focused on ascertaining if there is factual basis for President Duterte’s Proclamation 216. Duterte issued this on the evening of May 23, or hours after the Maute-led group, allied with Abu Sayyaf’s Isnilon Hapilon, laid siege to Marawi City.

Hapilon has been tagged the Islamic State’s emir in Southeast Asia, as it seeks to establish new footholds after being driven out of its sanctuaries in Iraq and Syria.

Lorenzana said at a briefing Monday he thinks the government has clearly laid out such basis in the hearings conducted by the SC.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue Tuesday (July 4) its promulgation on the martial law declaration, which was the subject of five petitions.

“And I believe we have sufficiently or competently answered all the questions on the basis of martial law. And, yes, tomorrow is the day that they are going to promulgate the ruling. I look forward to seeing that they will say that this is legal for the President to declare martial law in the first place,” Lorenzana said.


Someone left this newborn in a NAIA trash can

By InterAksyon | Pat Mangune, News5


MANILA- Somebody left a full-term baby boy in a trash can at the arrival area of the NAIA Terminal 1 late Monday, airport authorities reported.

The boy was gasping and distressed when brought for examination to the Ramp Clinic of the Manila International Airport Authority, according to the incident report.

The boy was found by a janitress inside a cubicle at the restroom in the west side arrival area, from where a woman had just emerged. The janitress said she became curious when she tried to lift the trash can to clear it, and noticed it was heavy. That’s when she discovered the infant.

An airport nurse was called, and she brought the infant to the clinic for examination and first aid.

Oxygen inhalation and ambubagging were provided by the attending doctor, who also suctioned secretions from the infant’s nasal and oral area, said the report.

“After 20-30 minutes of continuous resuscitation, patient began to cry continously, heart rate increased from 100-140, color from neck to head turned pink,” said the incident report.

Airport authorities turned over the infant, described as a “full-term baby boy,” to the Pasay City General Hospital.

Janitress Maricel Guliman, who found the baby boy, had a message to the woman who left him in the trash can: “Sana makonsyensya ka, dalawin mo anak mo. Buhay siya. Pero kung ayaw mo, sigurado hindi ka patatahimikin ng budhi mo [I hope your conscience bothers you, and you’ll visit your son. He’s alive. But if you don’t want to do that, you’ll never find peace].”


ASEAN TEMPLATE | PH to showcase ‘bold, aggressive’ war on drugs to its neighbors

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, News5 | InterAksyon

Photo: Aftermath of drug bust firefight in Butuan City. Phorographed by Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon
MANILA, Philippines – In the face of the thousands of killings, the Philippines will showcase its “bold and aggressive” anti-illegal drug program and offer it as a “template” to its neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) when they convene this week for the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Surigao del Norte Representative Robert “Ace” Barbers said.

The country will play host to the 13th meeting of the AIPA Fact Finding Committee (AIFOCOM) to Combat the Drug Menace at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City from July 4 to 8.

“… More than 20 years since the creation of this committee, no other bold and aggressive steps has been taken by the AIFOCOM to combat drugs,” Barbers, chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs, said in a news conference.

“This is very timely because no other President in the country has ever taken this bold step of addressing this problem of drugs head-on,” he added.

Barbers said AIFOCOM will be a “perfect venue to share this strategy among all ASEAN member nations in order for them to succeed, as well, in their combat against drugs in their own respective countries.”

When asked about the Duterte administration’s accomplishments in the drug war, Barbers highlighted the narco list drawn up for President Rodrigo Duterte, which implicated politicians, judges and other personalities allegedly involved in the drug trade.

“One thing we should highlight is this is the only administration that named narco-generals, judges, politicians, and has addressed this problem before we can become a narco-state,” he said.

“The fact that they are already named, I’m pretty sure cases are being built up against them,” he added.

He pointedly said human rights violations linked to the drug war were not sanctioned by the President and, if there are such cases, they are being perpetrated by “corrupt officials in the law enforcement agency.”

Two resolutions will be tackled during the meet. The first calls for “an inclusive partnership towards a drug-free ASEAN community that recognizes AIPA partnership’s need to have a more holistic approach to the drug problem.”

It further recognizes the urgency to engage the support and cooperation not only of national governments and their law enforcement agencies, but also of the private sector, the non-government and civil society organizations, and local communities.

It will also call on AIPA member-parliaments to enact new laws and review existing laws to determine the necessary amendments that will lead to harmonization of the legal framework on illegal drugs among AIPA member- countries and oversee the enforcement of said laws.

The second resolution will call for transforming the AIFOCOM into AIPA Advisory Council On Dangerous Drugs (AIPACODD) and strengthening its role and mandate as a parliamentary tool to combat dangerous drugs.

AIPACODD aims to facilitate the exchange of information and understanding among member- countries in their fight against dangerous drugs. It will also serve as the center to review existing laws as well as its enforcement within ASEAN countries in its fight against drugs.


Logs, flitches confiscated in Cordillera police drive against illegal logging

By Aldwin Quitasol, News5 | InterAksyon

Photo: Pine and other forested mountains of the Cordilleras. Photographed by Aldwin Quitasol, News5 | InterAksyon
BAGUIO CITY – The Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Cordillera Regional Office (PRO-COR), in its drive against Illegal Logging, confiscated some 1,288.66 board feet of assorted illegally harvested lumber in two days.

The Cordillera police reported that, in various mountainous areas of Benguet Province, logs and flitches were found abandoned, recovered and hauled in by an anti-illegal logging operation conducted on June 30, 2017.

A total of 136 pieces of assorted cuts of lumber; 34 pieces of pine tree slabs and three pieces of round pine logs with a total volume of 965.66 board feet worth Php29,573.00 were recovered and taken in by the operatives.

Over in the province of Apayao, 20 pieces of abandoned dipterocarp flitches comprising 323 board feet worth Php5,501.00 were hauled in Sitio Bayugao, Brgy. Turod, Luna, Apayao in the afternoon of the same day.

And in the province of Kalinga, 60 pieces of assorted sawn logs were likewise found abandoned inside a makeshift tent along the national road in Sitio Sagideng, Barangay Taga, Pinukpuk, Kalinga on July 1, 2017.

The operating troops scoured the area to locate possible illegal loggers and/or the owners but the search turned out negative, while all the recovered wood products have been placed under the custody of the concerned operating units for proper documentation prior to turnover to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Cordillera and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).

“The creation of the anti-illegal logging task forces in all the provinces of he Cordillera is not only a big boost to our regional anti-illegal logging efforts, but it is also a strategic move on the part of our partner agencies to further protect the remaining forest reserves,” stated Pro-Cor officials.

The Police body added that the police have been conducting regular anti-illegal logging operations and manning checkpoints in the region as part of its commitment to protect the environment.


LOOK | Where Imee Marcos will be detained if she again snubs House probe

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez (text and photos), InterAksyon

File photo of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos from her Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Will she show up or continue to snub the House of Representatives?

If Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos remains a no-show at the congressional inquiry into her province’s allegedly irregular purchase of over P66 million worth of vehicles, the House would be ready to arrest and detain her at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City and join six provincial employees, who have been hold up in Congress since May 29.

The detention room sits on the third level of the main building of the House of Representatives. Around 80 square meters in size, it has a receiving area, a bathroom, a small dining area and a private room with a makeshift bed.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, shows media the bed that Congress prepared for Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.
On Monday, July 3, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, toured the media in facility for the governor, the eldest child of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, who is now Ilocos Norte representative.

Last Sunday, July 2, Imee said she was willing to cooperate with the House panel on its on-going investigation into the provicial government’s alleged diversion of P66.45 million in tobacco funds to buy motor vehicles.

“I have expressed my willingness to cooperate…on the faith that the committee would conduct its current inquiry in accordance with the letter and spirit of Sec. 21, Art. VI of the Constitution—that the inquiry is in aid of legislation and that the rights of persons appearing therein are protected,” Imee said in a statement released through her lawyer Estelito Mendoza.

Photo: The sofa set within the 80 square-meter detention room that was prepared by the House as detention facility for Governor Imee Marcos
According to Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, the vehicles were purchased through cash advances from the province’s share from excise taxes derived from locally produced cigarettes or the special support fund under Republic Act No.7171 or the Act to Promote the Development of the Farmer in the Virgina Tobacco-Producing Provinces.

The lawmaker claimed the purchase of the vehicles had violated provisions of R.A. 7171 because the law mandates Virginia tobacco-producing provinces to use 15 percent of their share of excise taxes from locally produced cigarettes for projects that will help advance tobacco farmers’ self reliance through the establishment of cooperatives and livelihood, agro-industrial, and infrastructure projects.

Portion of the 80-square-meter detention facility with long table and chairs at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City being prepared for Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.
Also, Fariñas claimed there was no public bidding in the purchase of the vehicles in violation of Republic Act 9814 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The six provincial employees — Pedro Agacaoili, chairman of the office’s Bids and Awards Committee and head of the provincial and planning development office; Josephine Calajate, provincial treasurer; Edna Battulayan, accountant; provincial budget officer Evangeline Tabulog; and two other employees, Genedine Jambaro and Encarnacion Gaor — were detained after they repeatedly told the House panel chaired by Pimentel that they could not recall receiving millions in cash advances or authorizing the release of funds for the purchase of various vehicles.

Fariñas grilled the employees on the allegedly anomalous purchase of minicabs, buses, and trucks in 2011 and 2012 using the share of the province from tobacco funds.

The lawmaker chastised the employees for their allegedly “dismissive” answers and also warned that cases against them would pile up if they continue trying to get off the hook.


German bus inferno killed 18 in Bavaria, police say

Eighteen people are believed to have died when their tour bus crashed and burst into flames on the A9 motorway in southern Germany, police say.
The bus was in a collision with a lorry near Stammbach in north Bavaria.
Thirty people escaped the fire, two of whom are critically hurt. The bus was carrying German pensioners from Saxony.
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said rescuers were delayed by "gawpers" driving slowly and by the intensity of the blaze.
It is not clear why the bus crashed - traffic was reportedly moving slowly at the time. Nor is it clear why flames engulfed the whole bus so quickly.
The lorry's trailer was also incinerated and the burnt-out wreck ended up a short distance ahead of the bus. The German news website Frankenpost reports that it was carrying mattresses and pillows.
The lorry driver was unharmed and told police the bus had crashed into his vehicle and burst into flames, it said.
There were 46 passengers and two drivers on the bus. One driver was among those killed. The passengers were men and women aged 41 to 81, from the Dresden area, heading to Lake Garda in Italy for a holiday.
Forensic teams have recovered the charred remains of 11 people so far.
Bavaria map showing crash site
Five rescue helicopters joined emergency workers at the scene.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was distressed by the accident and expressed sympathy for the injured and bereaved relatives.
She thanked the rescuers for looking after people "in an appalling situation".
A police spokesman told German news channel n-tv that there were good medical facilities in Bayreuth, not far from the scene.

  • Published in World

Maynilad engineers win innovation contest

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Engineers of Maynilad Water Services Inc. won in the recently concluded 2017 IdeaSpace Startup Competition of IdeaSpace Foundation — a nonprofit organization which aims to help budding technology entrepreneurs develop innovations and transform these into businesses.

Maynilad engineers Edison Bao, Edwin Ryan Tsai, Alvin Borral and Cristopher Ganal won with their entry “Quick Construct Chamber,” an underground steel chamber that can be assembled and installed quickly to enclose pipe accessories during construction.

It bested 377 other ideas from all over the Philippines, earning for the Maynilad engineers P1 million worth of funding, training and services.




High school teacher killed in Vizcaya drug bust

By: Villamor Visaya Jr. - @inquirerdotnetInquirer Northern Luzon

CITY OF ILAGAN— A high school teacher was shot dead in a drug bust in Solano town, Nueva Vizcaya province on Friday.

Rogelio Andres was killed by policemen after he allegedly opened fire at an undercover agent to whom he sold a sachet of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) in Barangay (village) Curifang, according to Laurefel Gabales, Cagayan Valley regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Andres had been on the PDEA drug watch list since 2016, Gabales added.


Seized from Andres were two sachets of suspected shabu worth P1,000, a motorcycle, a Cal. 38 revolver, four bullets and two spent bullet cartridges. GAL


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