House leadership wants PAGCOR’s power to license casinos revoked

MANILA-- The leadership of the House of Representatives wants to remove from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) its licensing powers over casinos in the wake of the Resorts World attack which resulted in the deaths of 38 people, including the lone gunman.

During a congressional inquiry into the Resorts World rampage held at the Dignitaries' Lounge of NAIA Terminal 3 on Wednesday, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo FariAas disclosed that the House leadership will file a measure revoking PAGCOR's powers to grant license to casino and gaming club operators.

"(Upon) Instruction of the Speaker (Pantaleon Alvarez) to me, we will review Republic Act 9487 with a view of amending it and repealing altogether PD (Presidential Decree) 1869," FariAas said.

RA 9487, amending the PAGCOR Charter, granted the gaming firm the authority to operate and license gambling casinos, gaming clubs, and other similar recreation or amusement places and gaming pools.

The law also extended PAGCOR's franchise for another 25 years.

"You know gambling is prohibited in the country, but by a presidential decree, the power was delegated to PAGCOR to have the sole authority to authorize, license, regulate gambling. That should not be allowed. That should only be a congressional grant of franchise," FariAas said.

The Ilocos Norte lawmaker chided PAGCOR for not immediately suspending the casino operations of Resorts World Manila after the June 2 attack perpetrated by gunman Jessie Carlos.

PAGCOR Chairperson Andrea Domingo said Resorts World Manila voluntarily suspended all operations pending the investigation, noting that there was nothing more to suspend.

"They were given due process and 60 to 90 days to comply that is in their provisional license," Domingo said.

Domingo, in a separate interview, said she finds no problem with FariAas proposal to remove the gaming firm's authority over casinos.

Domingo also noted that PAGCOR will issue a recommendation on Friday whether or not to cancel the Resorts World's franchise.

Source: Philippines News Agency