CIDG 7 chief relieved for leading raid on Cebu POGO
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Police Colonel Lito Patay, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Central Visayas, has been relieved from his post after leading a raid on a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Central Visayas police chief Brigadier General Debold Sinas confirmed this to reporters on the sidelines of an event on Wednesday, September 18.
"That was the reason for his relief," Sinas told reporters on Wednesday, September 18. "I won't lie so you won't speculate," he added.
According to a report in SunStar Cebu, Patay will be reassigned to a CIDG office in Luzon.
At least 181 Chinese nationals working in the POGO office of company Xin Huang Jin Cheng were detained and charged on September 7. The raid came after a months-long investigation by the CIDG, led by Patay. (READ: Police file charges vs 181 illegal Chinese POGO workers in Cebu)
The Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor's Office later decided to drop the charges due to lack of probable cause, and released the detained workers.
The company's lawyer Jeff David denied that the company was operating illegally and said that Xin Huang Jin Cheng was registered as "an accredited Customer Relations Service Provider."
He also said that the raid was not coordinated with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), the company tasked with regulating POGOs.
The raid led by the CIDG under Patay was the first major operation against an online gambling company in the Visayas region.
Offshore gaming has come under scrunity due to the influx of foreign workers in the country. Critics like Senator Joel VIllanueva attribute the increase in housing costs to the influx of POGO workers.
While China has called for the Philippines to ban companies employing Chinese nationals in online gambling operations, President Rodrigo Duterte said he will not shut down POGOs, citing economic benefits.
Patay was the subject of a Reuters investigation that looked into Quezon City's Station 6. Before he was assigned to CIDG-7 in August 2018, Patay headed the police station that racked up 108 kills in anti-drug operations between 2016 and 2017. (READ: Impunity: The Fifth Man)
His name was floated among the candidates for the post of Cebu City police office director when another controversial cop, retired Police Colonel Royina Garma, stepped down in July. – Rappler.com