MANILA, Philippines – An anti-corruption group asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday, December 7, to nullify a regulation that allows the government’s gaming agency to issue offshore gaming licenses to Philippine or foreign operators.
In a petition for certiorari, the Union for National Development and Good Governance-Philippines (UNLAD-Philippines) asked the SC to stop the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) from implementing its own rule and declare it unconstitutional.
The petition refers to the “Rules and Regulations for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations” issued in September 2016 by Pagcor headed by Andrea Domingo.
The group accused Pagcor of acting with grave abuse of discretion when it approved the rules on offshore gaming without legal basis. Pagcor’s legislative franchise does not allow it to operate or regulate offshore gaming, the group added.
Under the questioned rules, Pagcor grants offshore authorized players – excluding Filipinos abroad – the license to hold online games of chance via the Internet using a network, software or program.
This is outside Pagcor jurisdiction, the group said.
“It is the humble submission of the petitioners that Pagcor committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it approved the assailed Rules on Offshore Gaming. This is so because Pagcor is not authorized under its legislative franchise, Presidential Decree 1869, either to operate and regulate gambling on the internet catering foreign based players and gamblers that are physically outside the Philippine jurisdiction,’ the 18-page petition said.
“Therefore, the rules on offshore gaming approved and currently implemented by Pagcor is null and void on the ground that Pagcor is patently without jurisdiction, legislative franchise, authority or power to issue licenses for the opening, establishment, operation, regulation, control and management on on-line gambling as defined under the Rules on Offshore Gaming,” it added. – Rappler.com