Beleaguered businessman Roberto Ongpin can revise his proposals to save PhilWeb all he wants, but the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) will not budge on its decision.
Last week, Ongpin made several last ditch attempts to save the gaming technology provider from the wrath of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. First, the businessman announced he would donate 49 percent of his 771.75 million PhilWeb shares to PAGCOR. When the state regulator refused, Ongpin altered his offer to appeal to Duterte’s other war—drugs.
In his final Hail Mary pass, the embattled businessman said the government can use his donation to build a network of drug rehabilitation centers co-managed by the private sector.
Still, PAGCOR stood firm in rejecting Ongpin’s offer.
PAGCOR Chief Executive Officer Andrea Domingo told Business World that she is “keeping her position against signing another contract with PhilWeb.”
“I will recommend to the board that we stick to our first decision,” Domingo said, according to the news outlet.
In July, Duterte singled out Ongpin in his campaign against oligarchs who he claimed “are embedded in the government,” prompting the PhilWeb chairman to step down from his post and offer to auction off his stake. Ongpin said he made the offers to save the jobs of about 700 PhilWeb employees and the 5,000 others who are employed by PAGCOR’s operators in its network of 286 e-Games sites.
“I hope you will forgive me for this one final attempt at not only saving the livelihood of some 6,000 individuals and their families but also to make effective use of my donation, which has now been rejected by PAGCOR,” he said.
PAGCOR previously said that it is passing up on the offers due to Duterte’s abhorrence of gambling due to the “social ills and decay they foist on our communities as they cater to the more economically vulnerable portion of our population.”