Bato asks DOJ: Are‘perya’ games legal?

Bato dela Rosa asks DOJ: Are ‘perya’ games legal?

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:25 AM February 07, 2024

Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

Are those popular color betting games found in “perya,” or town carnivals legal?

Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa posed the question to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday to settle a dispute between perya operators and law enforcement agencies over the legality of such betting operations.


Dela Rosa, chair of the public order committee, sought the DOJ’s legal opinion during a Senate inquiry on the reported harassment toward perya operators and workers by law enforcers during antigambling crackdowns.


A leader of the Perya Industry of the Philippines Association Inc. (Pipa) insisted during the hearing that color games were legal, citing permits issued to operators by local government units (LGUs).

“While perya owners are authorized by the LGU to operate in their area, police officers do not respect such authority. Harassment is inflicted upon perya workers,” said Evelyn Mendoza, president of Pipa.

According to her, members of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, and even some media practitioners, are known to extort money from perya owners supposedly in exchange for protection from raids or arrests.

LGU authority

“To avoid disruption of their operation, the owners release money to the extortionists. If they resist, a case will be filed against them for violating Presidential Decree No. 1602 (PD 1602) for illegal gambling. The authority of the LGU over perya is not recognized by the law enforcement units,” added Mendoza.

“Peryahan used to be a lucrative trade to many operators, but not anymore,” she lamented, saying the number of bona fide members of Pipa had dwindled over the years.

“The ones that left the fold could no longer afford the ‘non-operating expenses’ resulting from extortion,” she said.


Mendoza, during the hearing, cited an instance when a member of the group gave P420,000 as a gesture of “goodwill” to police officials in the Ilocos region.

“That’s only for goodwill. For us to be able to start business, we have to shell out that amount, otherwise we cannot operate. Then [we have to pay] P40,000 weekly,” she said.

Mendoza admitted that her group did not personally know the officials involved as perya owners would only get in touch with their supposed “collectors.”

Illegal gambling

“That’s why it’s also very hard for us. We also do not know if their names are just being used,” she said.

Mendoza said color games were the bread and butter for perya operators. “Nobody goes to the perya if there are no color games,” she said in Filipino.

But Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, said the color game might fall under the definition of illegal gambling under Republic Act No. 1602, as it was a betting game or a game of chance.

READ: ‘Perya’ workers seek Senate help over police alleged harassment

He added that perya operations may be legal as they are covered by permits issued by LGUs, but the permits may not necessarily cover color games.

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“We cannot decriminalize illegal gambling… That’s why we’re asking the DOJ to set the record straight,” he said. INQ

TAGS: DoJ, Senate

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