Seasoned broadcast journalist Karen Davila couldn’t help but share her two cents on e-sabong that involves controversial businessman Atong Ang.
On Twitter, Davila reposted a news item that read: “The government generates a P640-million revenue from e-sabong operations in the country per month, a ‘pittance’ compared to the P3 billion gross monthly income being earned by the online sabong firm of gaming consultant Atong Ang.”
Davila said: “This is P3B gross monthly income from the lower working class & the very poor. Sino ang lulong sa E-Sabong? Mga karpintero, waiter, security guard, driver, vendor – mga ordinaryong tao.”
She noted how online cockfighting will only make the poor, poorer.
“Nothing against Mr. Ang,” Davila reiterated.
In another post, she said that if the wealthy choose to gamble away all their money, that’s their problem. But the poor need to be “protected” from this.
According to her, e-sabong is an “addiction.”
“Mas malala pa po ito sa jueteng,” she related.
“Those who have less in life should have more in the law. Legislators, do your job.”
Ang admitted that his franchise, which was given by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), has gross receipts of P1 billion to P2 billion a day or P60 billion a month.
Ang said his commission is five percent or P5 billion from the P60 billion and this is whittled down by P2 billion to P2.5 billion going to his agents and still other expenses. This leaves him a monthly take of P800 million to P900 million.
Most of the 34 persons were reportedly kidnapped after attending cockfights in Manila, Laguna, and Batangas since last year.
Senator Grace Poe, chairwoman of the Senate Public Services Committee, said they will try to determine whether or not the franchise applicants have liabilities.
She said that the fate of the 34 missing “sabungeros” does not only show the social cost of E-Sabong but also revealed the truth about the industry.
There are six E-Sabong licensees, including Ang’s, authorized by PAGCOR.
Grace pointed out the problems and lack of regulatory framework of PAGCOR in managing the online E-Sabong industry.
Issues that require resolution are the lack of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at cockpits, game-fixing, and lack of oversight on the part of PAGCOR and local government units (LGUs), she said.
During the hearing, Ang denied that his company is complicit in the disappearance of the missing “sabungeros” and alleged there is a conspiracy to put him down. (With report from Mario Casayuran)