Senate panel to look into links of illegal Pogos to gov’t execs — Hontiveros
MANILA, Philippines — A Senate panel investigating crimes connected with Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) is set to look into its alleged links to government officials.
“We have to look into the possible links of POGO operations to our government officials,” Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, said in a statement on Thursday.
“Hindi pwedeng may mga protektor itong mga ilegal na POGO, lalung-lalo na at nagdadala yung operasyon nila ng sankatutak na krimen,” she added.
(We cannot allow that there are people protecting these illegal Pogos, especially that their operations bring in multiple crimes).
On Wednesday, Hontiveros presented to the media a Taiwanese national allegedly trafficked into working for a Pogo company.
In a press conference held by Hontiveros on Wednesday, 23-year-old Taiwanese Lai Yu Cian, or Ivy, surfaced to recount her experience with her abusive Chinese Pogo employers and ask for help.
Lai said she was trafficked into working for a Pogo company and revealed that her employers claimed there are Philippine government officials protecting their operations.
The Taiwanese national said her “bosses” would threaten her and say that if she escaped, she would still be found because there are government officials protecting them.
“I even tell them all the thing I want is my passport, if you don’t give my salary, it’s okay. But they still keep lying to me … and they always say that there are government people, or a government person to protect their business,” Lai told reporters.
“They mention Michael Yang but I don’t know who [he is] … my boss only says that when he shouts at me,” she added.
Anti-crime advocate Teresita Ang See affirmed Lai’s testimony, adding that she also rescued a Chinese national who, when brought to the Department of Justice (DOJ) after the rescue, was allegedly bribed and threatened by a Chinese broker who went to the DOJ with a bag filled with money.
Ang See added that this broker even bragged that policemen and prosecutors are in their payola.
Hontiveros said she would raise this concern during the upcoming Senate hearing on Pogo-related prostitution next week.
“POGO brings a whole spectrum of crimes into the country: illegal recruitment, illegal detention, sexual harassment, prostitution, at iba pa,” she pointed out.
“Sa hearing, kailangan malaman natin kung meron nga bang kinalaman ang ating mga government officials, ating mga pulis at mga piskal. We need to a stop to these crimes,” she added.
(During the hearing, we need to know if some of our government officials, police and fiscals have anything to do with this. We need to a stop to these crimes).
Edited by MUF
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