A Philippines advocacy group has filed a petition to the Supreme Court to cite gaming regulator PAGCOR for contempt over its regulation of online gambling.
In a 14-page submission, the Anti-Trapo Movement claims that PAGCOR deliberately ignored and circumvented a Supreme Court ruling in 2004 in which the court declared that PAGCOR did not have the authority to regulate the online gambling industry.
PAGCOR “made their own interpretation of the PAGCOR charter and arrogated upon themselves the powers to administer online gaming in the country,” said the group’s leader, Leon Estrella Peralta, in a statement. Peralta also claims that PAGCOR is in violation of Presidential Decree 1869 and Republic Act 9487 which outline the regulator’s roles and responsibilities.
As reported by the Inquirer, his comments follow a recent argument filed by the Office of Government Corporate Counsel in which PAGCOR argues that the Presidential Decree 1869 refers to Jai Alai as the only game outside of its jurisdiction.
“If it were really the intention of congress to exclude internet gaming, then it would have expressly included the latter in the exclusion,” PAGCOR said.
However, Peralta is arguing that the phrase “except Jai Alai” does not appear in the genuine version of the Presidential Decree 1869 which was published in the government’s Official Gazette in 1982.
Instead, he says, only the Cagayan Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority are legally allowed to regulate online gambling. Peralta has accused PAGCOR of illegally “interpreting and implementing the law”, adding that the Supreme Court is the “true agency of the government with the authority to interpret the law,” according to the Inquirer.