Robin Padilla’s ‘Jackie Chan’ attire a scene-stealer at Senate probe into Pogos
MANILA, Philippines— There was nothing like Senator Padilla to lighten the mood at a serious Senate hearing.
For a moment, Padilla provided comic relief in the often tension-filled Senate chamber, which on Tuesday was conducting a hearing on the Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) industry with his “Jackie Chan” attire, as one colleague described it.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means, noticed Padilla’s outfit when he entered the hearing room.
“Let me acknowledge the presence of Senator Robin Padilla, who is in his Jackie Chan attire,” Gatchalian said, drawing laughter from another senator, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Padilla, for his part, described Gatchalian as the “Einstein of the Senate.”
After the banter, Padilla gave his opening statement, saying he initially thought he was no longer needed in the probe since he knows nothing about gambling.
“Pero nang narinig ko na tungkol sa mga kriminal ito, ah kailangan ako dito dahil ito linya ko ito. Kaya po nandito ako, kaya makikinig muna ako,” he said.
(But when I heard this is about criminals, I’m needed here because this is my line [ of expertise]. So that’s why I’m here; I will listen first.)
“Thank you Senator Padilla for that. Siguradong matatakot sa inyo ngayon yung mga (kriminal), naka Jackie Chan ano kayo e…” Gatchalian said.
(Thank you, Senator Padilla, for that. I’m sure criminals would be afraid of your Jackie Chan attire.)
“Pang Kung Fu ito,” Padilla answered.
The Senate probe led by Gatchalian’s committee centered on alleged crimes and other irregular activities by some offshore gaming operators in the country.
Later in the hearing, Padilla commented that gambling is a moral issue.
“Alam nyo ako po ay hindi abogado. Ako ay criminologist, pero di ako abogado, abogago ako,” Padilla said.
(You know, I’m not a lawyer. I’m a criminologist, but I’m not a lawyer. I’m a foolish lawyer.)
“Pero ang hihilingin ko lang po sana, ito pong sugal, morally ano na ito, may problema na tayo rito. Lahat naman tayo, Muslim ako, Kristyano kayo, alam naman nating illegal yan sa mata ng Diyos. Pero hindi tayo nandito para sumamba,” he said, directing his statement to officials of then Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
(But my only request is that gambling is a moral issue. We already have a problem here. All of us here—I’m a Muslim, you are Christians—we all know that gambling is illegal in the eyes of God.)
“Nandito tayo dahil kumikita raw ang gobyerno diyan may mga taong nagtatrabaho diyan, okay. Sa madaling salita, sindikato pa rin itong ginagawa nating legal. Pero sana huwag na tayong mag-amoy sindikato. Kung sindikato yan huwag na natin sindikatuhin.”
(We are here because the government earns from the people working there. So, this is still a syndicate we’re trying to legalize. But I hope we don’t turn into a syndicate.)
Padilla also urged Pagcor to help the government address the problems on Pogo operations without passing the blame on anyone, specifically the agency’s previous management.
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