Petition requests SC to cut POGO licenses

An anti-corruption watchdog has asked the Supreme Court to nullify the regulation which allows Pagcor to issue offshore gaming licenses, The Inquirer reports.

The Union for National Development and Good Governance-Philippines (UNLAD-Philippines) through its chairman, Miguel Daniel Cruz reportedly said the rules and regulations for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) licenses is “unconstitutional”.

The petitioner has asked the high court to immediately stop the gaming regulator from implementing the licenses for offshore gaming, saying Pagcor has no legal basis to issue the rules on offshore gaming.

The petitioner stressed that Pagcor ‘s legislative franchise does not allow it to grant franchise to online gaming catering to foreign players and gamblers outside the Philippine’s territorial jurisdiction.

“It is the humble submission of the petitioners that Pagcor committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it approved the assailed Rules on Offshore Gaming. This is so because Pagcor is not authorized under its legislative franchise, Presidential Decree 1869, either to operate and regulate gambling on the internet catering foreign based players and gamblers that are physically outside the Philippine jurisdiction,” the petition said.

“Therefore, the rules on offshore gaming approved and currently implemented by Pagcor [are] null and void on the ground that Pagcor is patently without jurisdiction, legislative franchise, authority or power to issue licenses for the opening, establishment, operation, regulation, control and management on [online] gambling as defined under the Rules on Offshore Gaming,” it added.

“Pagcor’s act of mere issuing a license is in itself a violation of its franchise as there none in the provision of the law that allows Pagcor to delegate that authority to various license holders it already authorized. The Pagcor law must first be amended for it to legally delegate that authority exclusively franchised to it,” the petitioner said.

Last week, sources reported that the Pagcor had already issued around 35 offshore gaming licenses or POGOs.

Initially, the gaming regulator said it would cap the number of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) applicants at 25 for the first six months of implementation.

Pagcor said the introduction of offshore gaming was “meant to safeguard the welfare of the Filipinos at the same time meet the agency’s revenue targets to help fund the government’s nation-building programs.