Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chief Andrea Domingo has doused speculations that she is the next government official to face Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s chopping block due to alleged power abuse.
Domingo broke her silence two days after Duterte announced that he’ll be firing gaming officials linked to corruption as part of his administration’s major house cleaning, which started in April.
The PAGCOR chief pointed out that the president neither mentioned PAGCOR nor the agency’s officials in his recent speeches. She said the gaming officials that the Philippine president was referring to were officials in the freeports.
There are three freeports that issue licenses in the Philippines: the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB); the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO); and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). Domingo said gaming officials from these three jurisdictions will probably get the boot from the president.
“PAGCOR does not issue licenses in freeports. It is the special economic zone authorities that do,” Domingo told CalvinAyre.com. “What he mentioned are those issuing gaming licenses in the freeports.”
A source privy to the matter confirmed to CalvinAyre.com that President Duterte isn’t referring to PAGCOR when he lashed out on gaming officials linked to corruption and power abuse.
The source, who requested anonymity, said an official from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and members of APECO BOARD are the most likely candidates to get sacked by the President.
They reportedly got the ire of Duterte after the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel issued a favorable ruling to APECO, which is in contradiction with Duterte’s executive order against illegal gambling and regulation and licensing of gambling and online gaming facilities.
On Monday, Duterte announced that he had shown two gaming officials the door after they issued a new gaming license inside the freeport. The officials reportedly tried to justify their actions by telling the president that what they’d granted was only what was provided for in the franchise.
The last straw came when the two gaming officials decided to award franchise contracts to foreigners for 75 years, according to Duterte, who reminded people that he doesn’t like gambling.