Pagcor disputes Congress franchise requirement for gambling operators
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) doubts that gambling operators should be required to secure a franchise from Congress, saying this is not required by the Constitution.
But House Deputy Majority Leader Juan Pablo Bondoc, the coauthor of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for House Bill No. 6514, pointed out that Pagcor itself existed precisely because of a legislative franchise.
He added that Pagcor’s current power to license operations came from its franchise charters, Presidential Decree No. 1869 and later extended by Republic Act No. 9487.
An excerpt of Pagcor’s position paper read out by Bondoc in a Monday hearing stated that “only franchises for public utilities are required to come from Congress.”
“Your position paper is wrong. In fact, you exist because we granted you this franchise! Now, you say Congress cannot grant a franchise for gaming? That is absurd, my dear attorney,” the lawmaker told Pagcor’s senior legal counsel, Arnold Salvosa.
Bondoc added that Pagcor’s current authority to issue licenses only arose from its franchise charter—and Congress could very well retake that power.
“Instead of delegating it to Pagcor, those franchises should pass through Congress. Our power, we should take back,” he said.
Bondoc said that requiring gambling operators to secure franchises from Congress would “make all the process transparent [because] all the hearings of the House of Representatives and the Senate are done publicly.”
He said Pagcor’s current licensing processes are “done privately,” adding that the process is also vulnerable to “regulatory capture” with appointees possibly coming from former industry players.
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