Tolentino lauds termination of e-sabong operations

Senator Francis Tolentino on Tuesday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte following his decision over the termination of online cockfighting operations in the country.

“It’s a strong statement. The President’s decision to finally put an end over the operations of e-sabong is a testament of his political will in ensuring the welfare of the public,” he said.

In his pre-recorded Talk to the Nation aired on Tuesday, Duterte announced the operations of e-sabong will cease by the evening of May 3 following the recommendation made by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año amid the ongoing investigation over the reported mysterious disappearances of more or less 40 cock fighting aficionados in the last 18 months.

Tolentino together with Senator Bato dela Rosa earlier spearheaded a parallel inquiry over the missing “sabongeros,” in which the Senate investigation bared various loopholes in the operations of online sabong.

The senator said a law must be legislated first before allowing e-sabong operators to conduct business and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has no authority to regulate e-sabong, despite securing separate legal opinions from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General.

“The bases of PAGCOR are mere opinions of the Secretary of Justice and the Solicitor General—a mere executive opinion—given by the Executive Department. Now the head of the Executive Department—the chief executive, the President himself has decided—in effect is an implied reversal of these legal opinions,” said Tolentino.

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