Deception case revives Baguio bid vs gambling
BAGUIO CITY—Representatives of various churches in the summer capital have sat down to revive an antigambling crusade they mounted several years ago, following controversy over the operations of an electronic bingo parlor here, Baguio-Benguet Bishop Carlito Cenzon said on Wednesday.
Retired Pastor Simplicio Dang-awan, of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, said the churches are preparing an ecumenical assembly to express the negative impact of gambling in Baguio.
“We want the discussions to help us determine if we really want gambling,” Cenzon said.
Dang-awan said some church leaders have been thinking about staging rallies to draw attention to the proliferation of gaming operations, most of which are licensed by the government.
On Monday, Vice Mayor Edison Bilog presented what he described as a fake city council resolution which was allegedly used to legitimize an e-bingo operation here.
The resolution, which is now being disowned by Bilog and several councilors, expressed the council’s position that it “interposed no objections” to the e-bingo application of a Laguna province-based company that was licensed to operate by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
The resolution became the basis for Mayor Mauricio Domogan in April 14 last year to endorse the e-bingo parlor. There are three e-bingo operations in Baguio, which have been placed under police surveillance upon instructions of the council.
Domogan, on Wednesday, said he was surprised by the council’s reaction.
“It was clear they (councilors) signed that document. They are trying to put me in a corner. But if they decide to withdraw the resolution officially, then I will retract the endorsement and the business permits we issued to [the three e-bingo] operations,” he said.
Bilog, however, said the resolution did not use the format of regular council legislation, which should have made the mayor’s office question its authenticity.
Pagcor’s rules for applicants for e-bingo licensing allow them to attach proposed resolutions to their documents to speed up processing, according to city officials.
Councilor Richard Cariño said the document they signed was a proposed resolution that should have been submitted to a council committee for deliberation.
“But it should not have been used to misrepresent the council’s position on e-bingo,” Bilog said.
Councilors Peter Fianza, Leandro Yangot Jr., Betty Lourdes Tabanda and Isabelo Cosalan Jr. did not sign the disputed resolution.
Last week, Tabanda filed a resolution directing the city’s business licensing office to stop renewing the business permits of the e-bingo operators until the council reviews its policy on gambling.
Two Baguio resolutions, passed by the council in 1998 and in 2002, expressed the city’s anti-gambling position. But the council later approved the entry of government-approved games like bingo. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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