Hontiveros says Pogos could be in cahoots with Pagcor in committing crimes
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday bared the possibility that Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos) involved in criminal activities have cohorts within the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
Hontiveros led the hearing of the Senate Committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality on human trafficking, where Pagcor claimed to inspect Pogo hubs in the country twice a week routinely.
Despite claims of regular inspection, Hontiveros said Pagcor failed to discover criminal activities linked to Pogos — specifically, the 1,090 individuals rescued during a police raid at the Colorful and Leap Group Company in Clark Sun Valley Hub, Pampanga.
“Meron talagang modus operandi nangyayari probably isang tipster sa loob ng Pagcor nagti-tip off sa kumpanya,” said Hontiveros in a press briefing.
(There really is a modus operandi going on, probably a tipster inside Pagcor tipping off the company.)
Once the tipster relays the information to the Pogo, they will be playing a Chinese song telling employees to hide and keep quiet.
“Nagpapatugtog sila ng Chinese song na alam na ng mga empleyado doon o scammers nila, para ‘yung kalahati nila ay magtago sa mga dorms nila na sarado raw ‘yung kurtina ng bintana tahimik at hindi sila magiingay,” she added, citing one of the survivor’s testimony.
(They play a Chinese song that the employees there or their scammers already know so that the other half of them can hide in their dorms with the window curtains closed quietly, and they won’t make any noise.)
According to Hontiveros, the most common denominator between all cases of Pogo-related crimes the Senate committee has investigated is the collusion of government agency officials or employees.
“Unfortunately ‘yung isang naging constant feature ng mga scam na ‘yan ay ‘yung collusion pati ng mga official o empleyado ng mga government agencies and in this case, hindi na iba at nafocus ang tingin namin ngayon sa Pagcor dahil sila ang nagi-issue ng Pogo licenses,” said Hontiveros.
(Unfortunately, one constant feature of those scams is the collusion of officials or employees of government agencies, and in this case, our attention is now focused on Pagcor because they are the ones issuing Pogo licenses.)
“Sila ang dapat nakakaalam, nagmo-monitor at lalong sila dapat ang magpigil kung may mga illegal or criminal activities kasama ang human trafficking at cyber scam,” she added.
(They are the ones who should know, monitor, and especially they should be the ones to stop Pogos if there are illegal or criminal activities including human trafficking and cyber scams.)