Former Philippine presidential spokesperson denies lobbying for raided gaming operator

Former Philippine presidential spokesperson denies lobbying for raided gaming operator

Harry Roque says he was not involved in Lucky South 99’s reapplication for a licence.

The Philippines.- Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has refuted suggestions that he advocated for Lucky South 99, an operation in Porac, Pampanga, which was raided for alleged human trafficking and other illegal activities.

During the Senate inquiry into illegal gambling operators, Alejandro H. Tengco, chairman and CEO of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), said Roque and Cassandra Li Ong, a representative of Lucky South 99, had visited his office on July 26, 2023 to discuss unpaid arrears amounting to US$500,000. Tengco said Roque never exerted pressure on PAGCOR and did not follow up on the matter. However, Roque was listed as the legal head in the organisational chart submitted for reapplication by the company.

Roque said: “As stated by PAGCOR Chairman Alejandro Tengco in today’s Senate hearing, I requested a rescheduling of arrears payment for a lessee and principal of my client Whirlwind Corporation. My client provided services to Lucky South, which at that time held a valid licence from PAGCOR.

“I want to make it clear that I did not authorize nor was I informed of my name being included in any submission by Lucky South to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) regarding licence renewal.”

Earlier this month, PAGCOR’s chairman called for investigations into the involvement of former officials and intermediaries in supporting questionable applicants for Philippine offshore gaming licences. He suggested a former cabinet official had played a key role in gaining a licence for one operator.

See also: Philippine government still to decide on offshore gaming ban

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