Isko Moreno: Bingo case malicious, fabricated

Ace Tamayo

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Isko Moreno says accusations of alleged illegal gambling against him are 'malicious and fabricated'

Graphic by Bardo Wu

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno reiterated that “no wager” was involved during the alleged illegal gambling case filed against him and 5 other Manila council members. 

In a counter-affidavit filed at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday, June 25, Moreno, together with members of the city council of Manila, Joel Chua, Ernesto Isip Jr., John Marvin Nieto, Ma. Asuncion Fugoso, and former member Manual Zarcal denied the accusations, calling these “malicious and fabricated.”

“No wager was involved in the bingo games that was sponsored, it was purely done as a form of ‘parlor games’ for entertainment purposes without any cost to our constitution and that the bingo card was given for free,” the counter-affidavit said. 

It added “there is no law that requires anyone to obtain [a] permit from the local government unit if the bingo games [were] intended purely for entertainment purposes especially when being done in a private and gated compound.” 

Moreno and the other council members were arrested on February 17 on grounds that bingo is considered a form of illegal gambling under Presidential Decree P.D. 1902. Moreno earlier said his arrest was “a preview of a heated campaign period in Manila.”

Read: Isko: My arrest a prelude to campaign

Moreno was the running mate of Manila Mayor-elect Joseph Estrada, who ran against the camp of outgoing Mayor Alfredo Lim. 

Read: Isko Moreno released, Lim denies role

Yet in his counter-affidavit, Moreno said “under the Letter of Instruction (LOI) No 816, series of 1979, issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos, bingo games [were] excluded from the coverage of P.D. 1602 when being played as ‘parlor games’ for entertainment purposes.”

“A resolution interposing no objection or a permit is necessary from the local government unit only if the intention of the operator is to make business out of the said bingo game or bingo game will be played in a public which is not present in this case,” the counter-affidavit added.

Moreno and the other respondent also claimed that the only evidence the complainant, Blumentritt Police Community Precinct Commander Chief Insp Eduardo Morata got hold of was a microphone without any prized money.

Moreno added that they also filed a Joint-Complaint-Affidavit against Morata before the Office of the Ombudsman and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) immediately after the incident. 

Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that any case filed in relation to Moreno’s arrest for alleged illegal gambling will be transferred to the DOJ main office instead of the Manila Prosecutor’s Office. – 

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