A lawmaker has inadvertently admitted to gambling in casinos during a congressional inquiry into the Resorts World Manila incident where a lone gunman caused a fire that suffocated 37 people early this month.
Rep. Rodito Albano of Isabela, a member of the Commission on Appointments, made the admission when he was asking about the position of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) Chairman Andrea Domingo on his bill proposing a P3,000 entrance fee for casino players.
Albano said such fee would deter gambling addicts, such as the lone gunman–Jessie Carlos–who was buried in debts prior to the incident.
“We don’t have a problem with that proposal. Passing the law is the call of Congress. Once the law is passed, we will implement it. As of now, we charge a P100 entrance fee,” Domingo said.
She was referring to Pagcor-operated casinos dubbed collectively as Casino Filipino.
Resorts World is not operated but is merely regulated by Pagcor because Pagcor is both a casino operator and regulator.
“I have never been charged P100 when I enter the casino. Is there such a thing?” Albano said.
Domingo was clearly flustered, quipping “Bawal ho yatang maglaro ang mga [I think]… [government officials]are banned from playing in casinos].”
Albano wiggled his way out by noting that the law only bans government employees, not elected officials like lawmakers, from playing in casinos.
“We are not banned from playing in casinos because we were elected by the people. The electorate already know that the people they elect also gamble. The law prohibits gambling [in casinos]for those covered by the Civil Service Law,” he said.
“Some of us also play in casinos, just [a]few. We are not addicts,” Albano added.
Under the Civil Service Law, civil servants engaged in gambling will be reprimanded for the first offense, suspended for one to 30 days for the second offense and dismissed from the service for the third offense.
This law covers every branch, agency, subdivision and instrumentality of the government, including every government-owned or controlled corporation whether performing governmental or proprietary functions.