Illegal online gaming operations rampant in Clark, bares group

An anti-corruption movement yesterday deplored the proliferation of illegal online gaming activities in Clark Freeport Zone.

This was revealed by Leon "Ka Leon" Peralta, founding chairman of Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines Inc., in an interview yesterday.

He said the illegal online gaming activities inside Clark Freeport Zone has been going on for a long time and they discovered it through their own research.

"We conducted our own research on these illegal activities and discovered these illegal activities wherein aliens are given licenses to operate online gaming activities," Peralta said.

In a four-page letter sent by the ATM signed by Peralta to Eliseo Santiago, chairman and chief executive officer of Clark Development Corp. (CD) dated Aug. 3, 2016, the group stated its grave concerns on the reported proliferation of illegal gaming activities in Clark.

The research conducted by ATM on the said illegal activities they discovered the illegal activities conducted by illegal aliens without any authority or government issued license.

The second arrangements or modalities involved those conducted by Filipinos, legal aliens and even illegal aliens under suppossed legal authority of Philippine Gaming Corp. and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) issued casino licenses.

The letter called on CDC officials on notice that way back in 2004, the Supreme Court (SC), already declared that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) cannot issue any online gaming license because its charter does not authorize said agency to regulate online Internet gambling casinos/operators "inasmuch as there is nothing in the charter to show that it has been expressly authorized to do so."

The ATM cited the petition of then Sen. Robert Jaworski against Pagcor and Sports and Games Entertainment Corp. on Jan. 14, 2004 before the Supreme Court to nullify the grant of authority given to SAGE by Pagcor.

In the said petition, the former senator maintained that Pagcor committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it authorized SAGE to operate gambling in the Internet.

It also stated that Pagcor is not authorized under its legislative franchise, Presidential Decree (PD) 1869 to operate gambling in the Internet for the simple reason that the said decree could not have possibly contemplated Internet gambling since at the time of its enactment in July 1983 the Internet was inexistent and gambling activities were confined exclusively to real space.

The petition argues further that the Internet being an international network of computers, necessarily transcends the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines and the grant to SAGE authority to operate internet gambling contravenes the limitation in Pagcor's franchise under Section 14 of PD 1869.

Peralta reiterated in his letter to Santiago that a legislative franchise is a special privilege granted by the state to corporations and it's a privilege of public concern which cannot be exercised at will and pleasure but should be reserved for public control and administration.

He said that like SAGE which has to obtain a separate legislative franchise, their own investigation showed that CDC is not allowed under its charter to issue casino or online gaming licenses.

"Similarly, our legal research definitely shows that Ceza is not allowed under its charter to issue casino or online gaming licenses," Peralta pointed out.

The group wanted an explanation on why officials of CDC issued online gaming licenses to online operators with Pagcor licenses even if the SC has denied such right and authority in 2004.

Also, ATM wants to know the exact participation of the Business Development Office of CDC in allowing the proliferation of illegal gaming operations.

Source: Daily Tribune