‘Better late than never’ : Sotto, Dela Rosa hail Duterte’s apology on e-sabong

Better late than never!

That was the brief reaction of outgoing Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on the public apology of President Duterte to families of ‘e-sabong’ aficionados whose lives were negatively affected by the multi-billion-peso online cockfighting operations.

‘’Better late than never. We admire his tenacity to stop e-sabong after meticulously studied the ill effects of this online gambling,’’ Senator Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate labor committee, added.

‘’Malaking bagay po para sa susunod na henerasyon na naging klaro ang polisiya ng Estado na mas mahalaga ang pag aalaga ang moralidad ng bayan kesa sa kitang ibibigay ng e-sabong (This has far-reaching effects on the coming generations that there is a clear State policy where national morality is respected compared to profits from e-sabong) Nalantad rin ill effects na dulot nito na masasabing magdudulot ng irreparable (The effects of caused by e-sabong is irreparable damage),’’ he added.

Senator Ronald ‘’Bato’’ dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee that conducted hearings on the missing 31 ‘e-sabong’ afficionados, thanked the President for ‘’finally giving more weight on the social costs brought about by esabong than the revenue that the government is collecting from it.’’

‘’After all, revenues lost are recoverable but lives lost are forever gone,’’ he said.

Asked if the President’s apology is not too late, Dela Rosa replied: ‘’It is never too late.’’

‘’ Personally, I am anti-gambling but I don’t want to preempt the decision of the incoming administration. Should it decide to continue ‘e-sabong’ operations the Senate is ready to provide the needed legislations in order to have it properly regulated and hopefully minimize the social costs it may bring,’’ he pointed out.

The State-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) generates P640 million a month as revenues from ‘e-sabong’operators.

This is a pittance compared to the P3 billion gross monthly income being earned by the ‘Lucky 8’ online firm of gaming consultant Atong Ang.

Ang had told senators that daily bets total to an average of P1 billion or P2 billion. “More or less P60 billion po a month,” he added.

Of this P60 billion worth of monthly bets, Ang said he gets five percent or P3 billion a month.

Ang had said that his agents get P2 to 2.5 billion from this.

There were also testimonies before the dela Rosa committee of bettors whose families were badly affected because of their huge losses, crimes committed, of suicides and even a mother selling her child.