Abby Binay critics ‘misinformed’ on illegal gambling in Makati – lawyer

Khristine Montenegro

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Abby Binay critics ‘misinformed’ on illegal gambling in Makati – lawyer
To the anti-corruption group that has filed a case with the Ombudsman against the Makati mayor, city hall says over 90 business establishments have been closed down in the anti-gambling campaign

MANILA, Philippines – The Makati City government on Thursday, November 17, dismissed the allegations of an anti-corruption group that illegal online gambling proliferated in the city under Mayor Abigail Binay.

The Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines (ATM) had filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against Binay for supposedly violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees when she failed to curb the illegal activity.

“This group is sadly misinformed. Makati has a strict policy against illegal gambling. Only gaming establishments with licenses from appropriate government agencies are allowed to operate within the city,” said Attorney Michael Camiña, the Makati City legal officer, in a statement released on Thursday.

A GMA News Online report quoted ATM founding chairman Leon Estrella Peralta that illegal gambling firms submit invalid or illegitimate licenses from unauthorized offices to get a mayor’s business permit for operation in Makati.

Camiña clarified: “If they are referring to establishments issued permits and operating within economic zones, we would like to stress that these establishments applied for and were given business permits as support services to offshore gaming companies.”

He added that these establishments are licensed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), and should not be operating as gaming facilities.

Contrary to the ATM’s allegations, Camiña said, over 90 business establishments have been closed down or given show cause orders by the Makati City government. These establishments include online gaming firms, operating either without a valid license or violating the restrictions on their business permits.

In August, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa had already committed to start a campaign against illegal gambling once they are done with the war on drugs in the remaining 8 months until June 2017. (READ: Duterte seeks 6-month extension on drug war deadline)

Duterte, however, recently admitted that the PNP has been unable to go all out in chasing after illegal gambling syndicates is the lack of manpower. He does not want the police distracted from his drug war. –

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