But House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. quickly came to the defense of Naguiat. “As far as I can remember, the committee on games and amusement had a hearing and no less than the panel chair [Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing], together with his members, cleared Chairman Naguiat,” Belmonte said in a statement.
For his part, Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, chairman of the committee on games and amusements, echoed Belmonte’s sentiments, saying that Casiño’s resolution was nothing more than “forum shopping.” and that Naguiat was merely “collateral damage” in the clash of the two casino titans.
“There is no impropriety here. We are falling into the trap and machinations of Mr. Steve Wynn whose main objective is to oust Okada from his casino firm,” Bagatsing said.
With the case apparently behind them, lawmakers have already voiced their support of Pagcor’s continued push to build the extravagant and ambitious $5-billion Entertainment City project, a Las Vegas-style sub-city that is expected to be one of the driving forces in bringing tourism in the Philippines to a whole new level.
For a country that recently released a pretty catchy tag line of “It’s More Fun In The Philippines”, the proposed Entertainment City project will not only give credibility to that phrase, but could also serve as the driving force for the Philippines to become one of the premier gambling markets in the entire Asia-Pacific region, potentially giving Macau and Singapore a run for gambling supremacy in the region.
All these cases of back-talking, snake-biting, and alleged improprieties won’t help that cause. But now that everything appears to have been put to bed, everyone can now turn their attention to making the whole Entertainment City project come to life.