gambling

Malacañang says e-sabong operations to continue but orders PNP, PAGCOR probe

Pia Ranada
Malacañang says e-sabong operations to continue but orders PNP, PAGCOR probe

DUTERTE STANCE on E-SABONG CONTROVERSY. President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a meeting with key government officials. Malacañang photo

PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The Palace rebuffs the Senate's call for the suspension of online cockfighting permits

MANILA, Philippines – After the dogged insistence of Duterte ally Senator Ronald dela Rosa that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the suspension of online cockfighting permits, Malacañang issues a memorandum saying the opposite.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed on Wednesday, March 9, that he signed a memorandum dated March 8, stating that operations of e-sabong licensees not being investigated for violations can continue even as the police and Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) conduct a probe into breaches of e-sabong agreements.

The Palace ordered the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the disappearance of at least 34 e-sabong players and to submit reports on the probe to the Office of the President “within 30 days from the issuance of this order.”

PAGCOR, meanwhile, was directed to investigate any violation of its e-sabong licensees and to make sure these e-sabong operators are complying with security and surveillance requirements, “particularly the installation of CCTV systems in e-sabong gaming sites.”

“Unless otherwise directed, the operations of e-sabong licensees shall remain unaffected, pending the result of the above investigations,” said Medialdea.

The Palace memorandum was in response to Senate Resolution No. 996 where senators urged Malacañang to order the suspension of online cockfighting while the disappearances of players are yet to be solved.

Dela Rosa championed this call, as Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chair. He and Senate President Vicente Sotto III had claimed in late February that they heard Duterte say he agreed to suspend online cockfighting permits. But PAGCOR chairperson Andrea Domingo had said back then that she was told by Medialdea that the President is yet to issue such an order.

Domingo had also told senators that suspending the online gambling operations would have budgetary and economic implications as the industry has earned at least P640 million monthly ($12,378,847.12) since January. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.