Senator Joel Villanueva pushed for the immediate stoppage of e-sabong or online cockfights in the country because of its negative social effects.
“E-sabong should not be allowed to operate if we cannot protect our countrymen against the negative social effects of gambling. Money is not the only thing at stake here, but also the lives of our people,” Villanueva stressed.
This was the veteran legislator’s statement after he questioned PAGCOR’s involvement in e-sabong based on its own charter during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs recently.
“This representation was part of the House of Representatives when we opposed the passage of the PAGCOR Charter in 2007. According to Section 10 of Republic Act No. 9487 or the amended PAGCOR Charter, cockfighting is not included in games that PAGCOR is allowed to authorize, license, and regulate. What is the legal basis for PAGOR to grant licenses for e-sabong operations?” the seasoned lawmaker asked.
The hearing also revealed that PAGCOR has no prevailing mechanisms for e-sabong operators to implement regulation banning government workers to participate in its gambling operations.
“Let’s stop e-sabong operations if PAGCOR cannot stop government officials or even the police from betting.”
“Let’s stop e-sabong operations if PAGCOR cannot stop government officials or even the police from betting. If this were a different business, the government has already shut this down,” the senator said.
He also said that the kin of individuals with gambling problems can file a complaint to prevent these individuals from entering establishments like casinos, known as the “Responsible Player Gaming Exclusion.”
But PAGCOR said during the hearing that such a system has yet to be implemented for e-sabong.
Villanueva also called attention to how easy it is to violate these guidelines because of access to betting on e-sabong through online payment platforms.
He said that it only takes two minutes for a government employee, a minor, or even OFWs to register and bet because of insufficient identity and age verification mechanisms.
PAGCOR confirmed that they can suspend gambling licenses if there are violations of these regulations such as allowing minors to bet.
Villanueva also mentioned that pathological gambling causes mental disease, which results in the destruction of families, crime, and even suicide.
He supported a Senate resolution urging the PAGCOR to suspend the license of e-sabong operators as long as the case of the reportedly missing 31 sabungeros is still unresolved.
“Trabaho po at hindi sugal ang magbibigay ng oportunidad sa mga Pilipino.”
“Trabaho po at hindi sugal ang magbibigay ng oportunidad sa mga Pilipino. Hindi po tayo papayag na mabalewala ito dahil sa sugal na hindi oportunidad kundi panganib ang hatid sa ating mga kababayan,” Villanueva stressed.