PAGCOR wrongly claims licensed POGOs do not engage in criminal activities

June 26, 2024


The chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has falsely claimed that none of the online gaming operators raided for alleged criminal activities had a license from his office.

STATEMENT

In an interview on One PH’s Storycon show, Alejandro Tengco, the chairman and chief executive officer of PAGCOR, explained that while his agency monitors and enforces the country’s rules on Philippine offshore gaming operators or POGOs, it has no police powers. However, PAGCOR coordinates with a task force that tracks down illegal operators on a monthly basis.

He said:

“We furnish them with the names of the corporations that we have closed and those [which] are actively operating legally, so it is up to the task force now. […] Pero wala po talaga sa mga legal licensees ang nag-o-operate ng criminal activities.”

Source: One PH, Storycon | PAGCOR only gave permits to 46 POGO – Tengco, June 13, 2024, watch from 8:55 to 9:42

FACT

At least four POGOs in Pasay City and Pampanga found to have engaged in criminal activities had licenses from PAGCOR when they were raided last year, according Winston Casio, spokesperson of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, in a June 17 interview on ANC’s Headstart.

Alejandro Tengco, PAGCOR chief, wrong that licensed POGOs do not engage in criminal activitiesAlejandro Tengco, PAGCOR chief, wrong that licensed POGOs do not engage in criminal activities

“As far as PAOCC is concerned, we’ve raided four particular POGOs that had a license,” Casio said. PAOCC is empowered to cause and direct the investigation, immediate arrest and prosecution of organized crime groups or syndicates.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, in a June 18 statement, said that those raided by authorities had licenses from PAGCOR, including Hongsheng Gaming Technology and Zun Yuan Technology in Bamban, Tarlac.

Stephen David, lawyer of the now-suspended Bamban Mayor Alice Guo, also pointed out that Zun Yuan Technology had a license from PAGCOR which Guo used as basis for issuing a permit.

“Zun Yuan had a PAGCOR license, which is why she (Alice Guo) issued them a permit, and I am submitting that to the Office of the Ombudsman to show that she had no choice but to issue a mayor’s permit,” explained David in a June 6 interview on ANC’s Hot Copy.

BACKSTORY

Following several hearings at the Senate, the Department of Interior and Local Government filed graft charges against Guo for her alleged ties to Zun Yuan Technology, which was shut down in March this year for alleged illegal detention and human trafficking.

Philippine authorities raided Hongsheng Gaming Technology in February 2023 and Zun Yuan Technology Inc. in March this year.

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VERA Files

VERA Files is a nonstock, nonprofit, independent media organization. Founded in March 2008, it is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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