Pogo lawyer refutes claims of illegal activities in Pampanga hub

Pogo lawyer refutes claims of illegal activities in Pampanga hub

By: - Reporter / @FArgosinoINQ
/ 07:43 PM June 23, 2024

Gov’t orders freezing of Porac Pogo assets

RAIDED It took authorities almost two weeks to complete the inspection and inventory of evidence collected in the Philippine
offshore gaming operator (Pogo) hub that they raided in Porac, Pampanga, early this month. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — Claims related to the illegal operation of Lucky South 99 Corp, the raided Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (Pogo) hub in Pampanga, has “no sound basis,” according to its lawyer, Jovito Barte.

In an interview over  Kapihan sa QC on Sunday, Barte likewise refuted claims that some rescued workers in the complex were subjected to torture.


READ: Inventory of items in Porac Pogo hub done; letter with Roque’s name found


“Unang una ang nakita ito yung mga gamit na nandun lang wala silang pinakita na, when they took over the place there was somebody subjected to torture [or] there was someone subjected to inhuman activities,” the company lawyer said.

(They reported about the things found in the area but did not show anything else. They did not show that there was somebody subjected to torture [or] there was someone subjected to inhuman activities.)

“This things may have occurred but there was no sound basis to that, it’s just speculation alam niyo naman sa batas imagine nyo baliktarin natin sitwasyon, sa bahay mo pinasok ka may nakita mga itak? Balisong? Ibig ba sabihin ikaw ay masamang tao [na] dapat ka ikulong?” he further reasoned out.

(You know, in our law, imagine this happens to you, and authorities found bladed weapons in your home. Does it mean you are already a bad person who must be jailed?)

When asked about the actual torture videos released by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), Barte claimed that they might have come from other raided Pogo hubs, such as the one in Bamban, Tarlac.

“May mga alituntunin tayo sa batas na dapat sundin ngayon kung ano man nakuha doon kung ito man illegal edi i-kaso nila but to conclude na ito ay pang torture, sino, saan, at kailan ito naganap?” the lawyer said.


(We have rules in the law that must be followed now; whatever was obtained there, if it is illegal, they will file a case, but to conclude that there was torture, show us first who was there, where, and when it happened.)

“Ang tanong dun san ba ito nakuhanan kasi tatandaan nyo yung Lucky South 99 is not the only one raided, maaring nakuha ito sa Bamban di natin alam. Kailangan natin i-evaluate saan galing ang source nito,” he added.

(The question is, where was it taken? Lucky South 99 is not the only one raided. The video may have come from the raid in Bamban; we don’t know; we need to evaluate its source.)

READ: PAOCC: Deport 156 foreign nationals apprehended in Porac Pogo hub raid

A previous report from PAOCC spokesperson Winston Casio revealed that a document with Former Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s name was found in the establishment, along with six sets of People’s Liberation Army uniforms, an “outstanding service medal” for a Chinese military sergeant, military pins, and two pairs of boots.

He explained that Roque was the lawyer of Whirlwind Corporation, which leased the land to Lucky South 99. This was the biggest facility raided in Pampanga, which the commission earlier revealed had a reported total of 46 buildings, including villas and other structures, as well as a golf course.

In addition to these, authorities also found identification cards of a foreigner bearing different names among what he called “a good number of disturbing discoveries” from the compound.

About two weeks ago, PAOCC and joint operatives of the Philippine National Police units conducted the raid, resulting in the “apprehension” of over 190 individuals inside the Pogo complex along Friendship Highway, Angeles City.

PAOCC said its operation stemmed from a warrant issued by the Presiding Judge Maria Belinda Rama of Malolos Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, against officers and employees of Lucky South 99.

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The warrant, on the other hand, was issued following a report PAOCC received from confidential informants detailing how a female foreigner was sexually trafficked in the area and male foreigners were tortured.

TAGS: Pampanga, pogo

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