Philippines Supreme Court rejects petitions against POGO regulations

Philippines Supreme Court rejects petitions against POGO regulations

The court ruled that PAGCOR has the authority to issue the rules.

The Philippines.- The Supreme Court of the Philippines has dismissed three petitions challenging the constitutionality of rules and regulations (RR) enforced by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for offshore gaming operators (POGOs).

The court ruled that the petitions failed to comply with the established legal hierarchy and lacked substantial evidence of the petitioners’ direct involvement or personal interests in the implementation of the regulations. Associate justice Jhosep Y. Lopez authored the decision, asserting that the petitioners did not demonstrate a clear and immediate stake in the matter.

The petitions were filed by lawyer Jovencio H. Evangelista, the Union for National Development and Good Governance Philippines (Unilad) represented by Miguel Daniel C. Cruz, and the Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines. They raised concerns about the constitutionality and jurisdiction of PAGCOR in regulating online gambling activities.

Evangelista argued that PAGCOR exceeded its authority by regulating online gambling since its charter did not explicitly mention such activities. Cruz contested PAGCOR’s jurisdiction to oversee internet-based gambling catering to foreign players outside the Philippines, while the Anti-Trapo Movement questioned the corporation’s authority to delegate or share its franchise.

PAGCOR defended its regulatory role, citing its mandate under Presidential Decree No. 1869 as amended by Republic Act No. 9487. The corporation asserted its authority to regulate all forms of gambling within the Philippines’ territorial jurisdiction, including online gaming.

See also: PAGCOR seeks approval for salary increases

Philippine House panel approves bills to ban POGOs

The House of Representatives Committee on Games and Amusements has approved House Bill 5082 and Resolution 1197, which seek to ban offshore gambling operators.

Rufus Rodriguez, author of HR 1197 and representative of the 2nd district of Cagayan de Oro City, and Manila representative Bienvenido Abante Jr., who filed HB 5082, thanked the committee, which is chaired by the congressman of the 6th district of Cavite Antonio Ferrer.

Rodriguez claims that POGOs, despite contributing revenue to the country, are primarily used to carry out illegal activities such as money laundering, illegal immigration and employment, kidnapping and other crimes. He said that in the first six months of 2023, the Philippine National Police recorded 4,039 victims in four POGO-related crimes.

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