Legal Setback

April 28, 2019
Kazuo Okada

ANOTHER legal setbacks befall Japanese gaming tycoon Katzuo Okada who is facing charges of embezzling millions of funds of the posh Okada Manila in Parañaque.

This time, Justice department prosecutors dismissed the perjury cases filed by Okada firm Azure Phils. Manufacturing Inc against the chief executive adviser of Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc., the owner of Okada Manila, who accused the former of falsely claiming to manufacture light emitting diode (LED) strips for the hotel and casino resort company.

In a resolution, Las Piñas City Senior Asst. Prosecutor Donald Macasaet said the elements of perjury were absent in the estafa  complaints filed by TRLEI executive Dindo Espeleta against Azure.

The perjury case was filed originally at the Parañaque City prosecutor´s office but the Parañaque prosecutor inhibited prompting the Department of Justice to assign the Las Piñas City prosecutor to the case.

APMI sued Espeleta for three counts of perjury for claiming in an estafa case filed against APMI that it made false representations when it entered into a deal to supply TRLEI with LED strips for outdoor use in the Okada hotel casino.

Among others, Espeleta, who was in charge of the LED project for TRLEI, accused APMI of making it appear that it was the manufacturer of the LED strips when it merely engaged another company, J and J Phils., to supply the LED strips.

APMI, in its complaint for perjury against Espeleta, said the TRLEI executive knew beforehand that APMI was just buying the LED strips and lied at least thrice in his estafa case about it.

But Macasaet, in his resolution, said although Espeleta made the claims in his affidavit and before the court where he filed the estafa case, a key element of perjury was absent -- the intention to deceive.

“The requirement that the respondent [Espeleta] made willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood is lacking,” said Macasaet in his resolution dated April 15, 2019.

Citing a Supreme Court ruling, Macasaet said “a false statement of a belief is not perjury.”

Macasaet said Espeleta “was able to establish that his assertions” in the estafa case against APMI were “based on belief and conviction” and after an examination of APMI’s corporate papers.

Macasaet´s resolution said “a reading” of APMI´s amended articles of incorporation confirmed Espeleta´s claim that manufacturing LED strips for outdoor use ¨was never mentioned as the primary or secondary purpose of the corporation.”

Espeleta´s claims, Macasaet said, “proceeded from his examination of the corporate papers” of APMI.
 “In other words, there is no falsity that can be atttributed” to Espeleta, the resolution said.

Email messages presented by APMI against Espeleta as evidence, “to put it bluntly, are not clear of their import in proving perjury,” said Macasaet.

The claim by APMI that Espeleta or TRLEI knew ahead that APMI did not manufacture LED strips “is based purely on conjectures and does not have a leg to stand on.”