RAMPANT illegal online gambling operations continue in Makati City, three months after we called the attention of Makati Mayor Kid Peña on their proliferation in the country’s premier business district.
Now Makati may also be known as “Capital City of Online Casinos,” thanks to the ineptness of Peña, who failed to act on the problem.
These establishments, posing as business process outsourcing (BPO) or “call centers,” are operating without the required permit or license from the Makati City Business Permits And Licensing Office (BPLO) or the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).
One would inevitably wonder if the current local Chief Executive, who is filling in for ousted Mayor Junjun Binay, is on the take from big-time Chinese gambling lords who clearly operate with impunity these illegal online casinos in Makati.
I called Peña’s attention many times already, as well as authorities at the Makati City BPLO, on the issue and the fact that there is no justification why these illegal gambling joints should remain in business.
But the good mayor and the “public servants” at BPLO have not lifted a finger to close down these unlawful business the operators of which apparently do not pay taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), considering that they have grown into a multi-million dollar industry.
I also informed Peña through the city BPLO the exact addresses of these gambling joints in the Makati business district, where hundreds of undocumented Chinese are illegally employed as customer service representatives or “call center agents” who receive bets from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
The local BPLO is supposed to allow the operation of this type of casinos if a casino possesses the required license from CEZA, the agency mandated by law to issue such license.
So, for the nth time, we are providing here a partial list of illegal online casinos that operate in Makati including: Betsson Group, on the 14th floor of Zuellig Bldg. along Paseo de Roxas Avenue; CG World Services, located on the 9th floor of RCBC Towers along Gil Puyat Avenue; the Novemix Corp. also on RCBC Towers; Gee Pacific Technology at the 32nd floor of Robinson Summit Bldg. along Ayala Avenue; Opus Gaming Ltd. at the 51st floor of PBCom Bldg. also on Ayala Avenue; and Goldrich Global Games at the 16th floor of Burgundy Towers along Gil Puyat Avenue.
I dare Mayor Pena to close down all these illegal online casinos in his turf immediately and prove that he is not on their payroll!!!
Caguioa’s orders protect illegal aliens?
Meanwhile, the crackdown that has deported hundreds of illegal alien workers this year is reportedly grinding to a halt in the wake of the controversial “redistribution of powers” at the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
BI’s campaign against human trafficking has been reportedly “ordered stopped,” particularly those involving smuggling of Chinese recruited to work at illegal online gambling joints in the country.
Justice Secretary Ben Caguioa, in a series of department orders in November, redefined functions of Immigration Commissioners Siegfred Mison and Associate Commissioners Gilbert Repizo and Abdullah Mangotara.
While BI is an attached agency under the Department of Justice (DOJ), legal luminaries have questioned Caguioa’s department orders, clipping Mison’s powers while vesting Repizo and Mangotara vast authorities.
Under the Department Order 911 issued by Caguioa in November, Repizo was designated “Commissioner Officer-in-Charge” on all BI’s border operations at international airports and seaports. Mangotara, on the other hand, is now “Commissioner-in-Charge” on BI intelligence operations.
Caguioa’s DO 912 stripped Mison of the sole authority to approve all applications for immigrant visa, non-immigrant visa conversion and issuance, amendment, extension and renewal of Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Cards.
DO 912 reverted said power to the Board of Commissioners, which in effect disbanded the Visa and Special Permits Task Force (VSPTF), whose function is to eliminate red tape in the processing of all applications for visas.
In DO 913, the Justice chief directed Repizo to conduct an inventory of all recall and exclusion orders from 2013 to 2015 and thereafter to submit the corresponding reports with appropriate details, observations and comments on each reported incident.
Two Ateneo professors of administrative law pointed out that current Immigration Law (CA 613) grants the powers cited above only to the Bureau Commissioner.
Under CA 613, exclusion orders are decided by immigration inspectors and reviewed by a Board of Inquiry but Caguioa’s DO 911 grants such powers to Repizo.
The professors pointed out that recalls of exclusion orders are not within the jurisdiction of the Board of Commissioners, with the responsibility being given only to the immigration commissioner.
The Justice secretary may not have the power to reduce the powers of the immigration commissioner given by law.
Caguioa, erstwhile chief legal counsel at Malacañang, is an Ateneo classmate of Noynoy Aquino since grade school. Based on those “qualifications,” he’s been nominated to a Supreme Court justice seat to be vacated by Martin Villarama.
Repizo, known mainly as the lawyer for the P6-billion housing scam mastermind Delfin Lee, and Mangotara are Liberal Party stalwarts.
Repizo figured prominently in the alleged massive bribery scandal in the Wang Bo deportation case “investigated” by a congressional committee months ago.
Chinese gambling lord Wang Bo sought haven in the country by bribing some BI officials years back.
Mison pressed for his deportation but Repizo authored the controversial BI resolution allowing Wang Bo to stay.
Caguioa has turned everything upside down at the BI these days. It seems like he does not know his head from his a**!!!!!