Duterte denied agreeing to stop e-sabong operations – Pagcor chief
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chairperson Andrea Domingo says President Rodrigo Duterte has allegedly denied having agreed to suspend e-sabong operations.
Citing her conversation with Executive Secretary Medialdea, Domingo told the Senate public order committee on Friday that Duterte did not say his agreement with the suspension of e-sabong (online live cockfighting) operations in the country.
“Tinanong ko po sa Executive Secretary ‘Sir, pumayag po ba talaga ang President na i-suspend ang operations according to the news reports?’ Ang sabi po ni Executive Secretary, ‘Tinanong ko si presidente diyan, Andrea, sabi niya wala siyang sinasabing ganon’,” she said.
(I asked the Executive Secretary ‘Sir, did the President really agree to suspend the operations according to news reporters? The Executive Secretary said: ‘I asked the President about that, Andrea, he said he said no such thing.’)
Domingo was referring to reports quoting Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Senate President Vicente Sotto III that Duterte agrees with the suspension of e-sabong operations.
“So ako ngayon ang sinungaling? Ako ang kausap ni Presidente, sinabihan ako niya ng ‘Sige, sige, sige’,” interjected Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate committee.
(So I’m the liar now? I was the one who talked to the President, he told me ‘Alright, alright, alright.’)
“Ibig sabihin, Sec. Medialdea would like to make me appear na, being the chairman of this committee at personally nagsabi kay President…ako ngayon ang sinungaling?” he added.
(Does it mean that Sec. Medialdela would like to make it appear that, being the chairman of this committee and having personally talked to the President, that I am lying?)
Domingo, for her part, said she was just citing what Medialdea told her.
“Hindi ko po alam kung anong nangyari sa inyo [I don’t know that happened between the you],” she said.
She then assured the committee that she will head to Malacañang after the hearing to talk to Medialdea again.
“At the very least, I will meet with the Executive Secretary para alam ko na po kung ano ang sense ni Presidente. At ‘pag po sinabi ni Presidente na suspendihin…’Pag sinabi lang, kahit vertbal lang ‘isuspende mo,’ i-suspend po namin,” Domingo said.
(At the very least, I will meet with the Executive Secretary so I will know what the President’s sense is. And if the President said to suspend…Even if it’s verbal ‘suspend it,’ we will suspend.)
The Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee has resumed its investigation into the disappearance of 34 persons allegedly involved in e-sabong game fixing from April 2021 to January this year.
After the hearing last week, a resolution, signed by 23 senators, was issued to press for the suspension of e-sabong in the country.
Domingo said that while Pagcor respects the call of the senators, she said the regulatory body may be held liable for the suspension of e-sabong operations if it is done without legal basis.
“Although we do respect the resolution from 24 senators for us to suspend immediately e-sabong operations, we stand at the peril of having to pay P640 million while we suspend (the operations) without clear and legal basis,” she argued.
“We have to look into the repercussions. In the final analysis, it would be Pagcor who would be responsible for the final decision,” she added.
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