Okada-Manila

Previously ousted board led by Kazuo Okada is disputing PAGCOR’s order to reinstate the pre-takeover board as both factions accuse the other of tampering with the legal proceedings.  

In the latest media reports, the camp of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada claimed PAGCOR orders reinstating the old board of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), the operator of Okada Manila was in defiance of the Supreme Court’s status quo ante order (SQAO).

Media reports claim of the Kazuo’s group having alleged PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco as well as other newly-installed officials for intervening in an ongoing intra-company dispute at Okada Manila, knowing fully well that this is an ongoing case which has yet to be decided by the Court of Appeals (CA) and ultimately the Supreme Court.

“This is a brazen attempt to defy the Supreme Court’s Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO). The Pagcor board expeditiously came up with a cease and desist order that is merely based on the opinion of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and not from a proper Court of Law,” Kazuo’s camp was quoted in the Bilyonaryo report.

The Supreme Court’s SQAO, which was the basis for the self-appointment of the Kazuo’s group, merely ordered the return of the Japanese business group as stockholder, director, chairman and CEO of TRLEI and it did not empower Kazuo to form a new board or act as TRLEI representative, the opinion was quoted in media reports.

Whereas, the Kazuo camp argued that the Supreme Court ruling dated August 10 clearly affirmed that “pending the reception of evidence and submission of the report and recommendation (by the CA), the [SQAO] subsists.”

The Supreme Court has already remanded to the Court of Appeals the task of receiving additional evidence from the opposing parties to support their claims and defence on the issuance of the SQAO, – Kazuo’s group pointed out.

What Happened?

Kenshi Asano, Director of Tiger Resort Asia Limited (TRAL) which owns 99.9 percent of TRLEI, said his group, led by president Byron Yip, took control of Okada Manila on the same day even as Kazuo’s camp made a last-minute effort to sabotage the transition by disabling the hotel’s elevators.

PAGCOR has successfully evicted the “henchmen” of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada from the board of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), operator of Okada Manila casino hotel, was quoted in several media reports.

PAGCOR’s cease and desist order issued on September 2 has enabled the old TRLEI board to regain control of Okada Manila three months after Kazuo’s group took over the TRLEI board.

While Kazuo would remain as chairman and CEO of TRLEI, PAGCOR ordered his cohorts Tonyboy Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta, Maximo Modesto, Joel Flores, Tetsuya Yokota and Hiroshi Kawamura to vacate the casino-hotel and stop disbursing funds until they have submitted proof of their right to retain their posts.

Asano said TRAL would heed the PAGCOR order for now, recognizing Kazuo on the TRLEI board.

But he said the fate of Kazuo, who has a subsisting warrant of arrest for embezzlement in the Philippines, would be decided by the SC once the Court of Appeals submits its findings on the controversial businessman.

“We will remain focused on resolving this matter with finality. A favorable outcome will help the Philippines regain the trust of international investors”, Asano was quoted saying, in media reports.

Asano described the transition as “peaceful” despite a minor and brief scuffle when Kazuo’s goons blocked government authorities from entering Okada Manila on Friday, September 2.

Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, the operator of Okada Manila, saw quarterly revenue gain 40 percent in 2Q22 from the prior quarter.

The company reported EBITDA of PHP2.17 billion, up from PHP1.15 billion.