E-sabong to lure families into gambling in next 25 years – oppositors

Published December 8, 2021, 1:07 PM

by Ben Rosario

Filipinos can gamble even their hard-earned savings right in the family living room for the next 25 years if the House of Representatives will pass next week another e-sabong (cockfight) legislative franchise application.


Former House Speaker and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano said members of the Lower House should be more critical of e-sabong franchise bills as he noted that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation had merely granted on-line gambling operations through cockfights as an emergency measure to raise funds.

Several congressmen have taken advantage of this situation by pushing for the grant of 25-year legislative franchise for two e-sabong operators.

“Kumbaga y’ung emergency use ng e-sabong na ginawa ng PAGCOR eh binigyan ang operators ng license kasi emergency daw sila, wala na silang pondo. Pero bakit mo bibigyan ngayon ang e-sabong operators ng full access o full authorization ng 25 years na hindi pa nga nakaka-six months, hindi mo pa nakikita kung eto talaga ay nakakabuti o nakakasama or neutral sa ating society. (PAGCOR’s emergency use of e-sabong, so to speak, is to grant licenses to operators because the agency said it was running out of cash. But why would you give e-sabong operators full access or full authorization for 25 years when we’ve regulated them for barely six months, we haven’t seen whether it is beneficial or harmful or neutral to society?),” said Cayetano.

The Catholic church, through the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has registered its strong objection to the permanent legalization of internet gambling such as e-sabong.

Newly-installed CBCP President Archbishop Pablo Virgilio David (CBCP) denounced the legalization of e-sabong as a “disastrous” move by the government.

“In the context of the pandemic that has locked down the elderly, the vulnerable, and the children for too long, the legalization of e-sabong has been one of the most disastrous things ever allowed by the government,” CBCP President Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in a November 30, 2021 Facebook post.

Deputy Speaker and CIBAC Partylst Rep. Bro. Eddie Villanueva has urged his followers not to vote for politicians who are supporting e-sabong.

Cayetano vehemently opposed the approval of the 25-year franchise granted by Congress to e-sabong operator Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc. in September, said the best outcome would still be for PAGCOR to revoke the operating licenses it has given to at least seven operators.

“We’re not asking, you know, for people to be unreasonable ‘di ba, but of course kung ako tatanungin mo, gusto ko i-revoke din ng PAGCOR y’ung license, pero nandyan ‘yan eh, nag-o-operate na. (We’re not asking, you know, for people to be unreasonable ‘di ba, but of course if it were up to me, I would want PAGCOR to also revoke their licenses, but it’s already there, they’re already operating.),” he said.