THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has been authorized to arrest any government employee caught gambling inside casinos.
This, as PNP National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman Andrea Domingo, and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Director Oscar Albayalde unveiled on Wednesday a signage at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque warning government personnel against possible arrest if seen playing inside casinos nationwide.
The signage saying, “No Government Official Allowed to Gamble,” is part of a campaign to remind government employees and officials to stay out of casinos and other gambling places.
Similar warning signs were put up in other casinos nationwide, including other top gambling destinations like Resorts World Manila, Okada, City of Dreams and Pavilion Hotel.
“‘Yung mag-iinsist na mag-casino ba-bye sa inyo. Idi-dismiss ko kayo kahit sabihin ninyo na mayaman kayo, hindi kayo pwede sa casino. Dahil ang mahipit na ipinag-utos ng Pangulong Duterte at huwag magsugal” de la Rosa said.
De la Rosa also said that the PNP would follow a one-strike policy against policemen who would be caught in casinos and would be charged criminally and administratively.
“Ang masaklap pa yung mga pulis, hindi lang pulis na walang involvement sa kalokohan, yung pulis na kilalang ninja cop, dito nagtatambay. Ibig sabihin, nilalaunder yung pera nila sa drugs, nilalaunder nila yung pera nila sa casino,” de la Rosa said.
(What is even pitiful is that these policemen, these so-called ninja cops, stay here. This means that they launder drug money here at the casino.)
He also reminded that policemen acting as financiers to gamblers was strictly prohibited.
“Ang pangit naman pulis na financier sa casino sa sugal. Ibinabawal nga siya na magsugal siya pa nagfifinance ngayon. Sobra sobra na yang pulis na yan.Hindi na katanggap tanggap,” de la Rosa said.
(It’s not right for policemen to act as financiers in casinos. He is being prevented from gambling and yet he acts as financier. That cop is abusive. It is unacceptable.)
De la Rosa, however, exempted policemen moonlighting as personal security guards to individuals going to casinos. In that situation, they are performing their duty, he added.
“Kung itong [pulis]ay papasok sa casino at escort ay sasama doon, yung particular policeman o escort, he is doing his duty. Hindi mo pwedeng iwan yung secure niya na VIP pero kung nainvolve sa sugal, another story [yun]. ”
(If this cop will enter the casino as an escort to a VIP, then he is doing his duty. He cannot leave the person he is assigned to secure. That is a different story.)
Presidential Decrees 1067-B and 1869, which created the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., prohibit government officials, members of the uniformed services, students and minors from playing in casinos.
A Memorandum Circular No. 6, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in 2016, reiterates the ban.
De la Rosa added that the PNP was now closely monitoring several government employees known to visit casinos.
“Marami akong nakikita dito na nagsusugal na mga government official na barangay captain, congressman, mayors at councilor,” he said.
De la Rosa said that government officials caught playing inside casinos may face charges for violation of Article 231 of the Revised Penal Code, Section 2 of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Official and Employee, Presidential Decree 1067B as amended by PD 1869, Presidential Memo Circulars No. 20-1986-8-2001, Section 46B Chapter 7 Subtitle A, Title 1 book V of Executive Order No. 292 and Presidential memo circulars No. 06-2016.
Meanwhile, Domingo reiterated de la Rosa’s warning, saying that authorities would not hesitate to go after erring officials, and would use close circuit television (CCTV) camera of the casinos as evidence against them.
“Sa oras na makita at makilala ang isang empleyado o official ng gobyerno na nakitang naglalaro ng casino ay agad naman pong irereport ito sa aming tanggapan at kami po ay bibigyan namin siya ng warning,” she said.
Domingo added that majority of officials seen inside such establishment were from the provinces, but refused to name them. ROY NARRA