Remulla tells NBI to stop ‘operating’ vs Pogos, cites extortion reports | Inquirer News

Remulla tells NBI to stop ‘operating’ vs Pogos, cites extortion reports

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:34 AM July 29, 2022

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday said he ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to stop its operations against Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) due to reports of extortion and other irregularities.

“I told (NBI officer in charge) Director (Medardo) De Lemos to stop everybody from operating on Pogos because we are getting a very bad reputation on the matter,” Remulla said on the sidelines of a Rotary Club of Manila gathering on Thursday.


Remulla said these irregularities were “described simply as ‘hulidap.’”


“It cannot happen anymore, it has to stop,” he said.

The Inquirer tried to reach the NBI, through its spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin, for comment, but he has not responded as of press time.

According to Remulla, there were also several problems involving Pogo workers, including kidnapping cases.

“They kidnap each other, they sue each other at the DOJ, but they (agree to) settle later on. So we are just wasting our time. We just get involved in their intramurals… so we have to stop it. We would only act if there is really a police matter that is necessary for us to work on,” he said.

Asked if there were high-ranking officials involved in irregularities related to Pogo operations, Remulla said: “I don’t know yet. I have not gone that far.”

“What I know is that many have been operating against Pogos. It’s really alarming and it has to stop,” he added.



The Pogo industry was a booming sector during the early years of the Duterte administration, but suffered from a tax dispute with the government in 2019 and from the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

A revival of Pogo companies was projected after the industry settled the tax dispute last year.

Under the Pogo law enacted in 2021, all offshore gaming licensees, regardless of whether Philippine- or foreign-based, are considered doing business in the Philippines, and must pay a 5-percent gaming tax on the gross gaming revenue or receipts derived from their gaming operations.

Foreigners employed by Pogo licensees and their service providers will also have to pay a final withholding tax of 25 percent on gross income, provided that the minimum final withholding tax due from any taxable month from such persons is not less than P12,500. The new law also requires that the employees secure a tax identification number.

Former Cavite resort

A major development in the industry happened in 2018 when wealthy Chinese-Filipino businessmen who are active in Pogo operations was reported to have bought the former Island Cove resort in Cavite from the influential Remulla family for conversion into a Pogo hub.

The Pogo complex will have offices for operators, dormitories to house the Chinese workers who man the gaming operations, and several commercial and recreation establishments to cater to the needs of the thousands of employees expected to live there.

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The idea was to make the people involved in Pogos to work, eat, play and sleep in the complex to minimize the social ills that civil society groups have been blaming on the Pogos.

TAGS: DoJ, NBI, pogo

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