GAMING technology firm Globaltech Mobile Online Corp. (Globaltech) on Thursday, May 9, shot down claims of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña that it paid "payola" in exchange for police protection for Peryahan ng Bayan games in Bohol.
In a statement, Globaltech head for legal Bernard Vitriolo said they do not need to pay illegal protection money to Cebu City Police Director Royina Garma because Peryahan ng Bayan games are "legal and deserving of protection by the Philippine National Police (PNP)."
“With due respect to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena, we do not need to avail of illegal police protection and pay clandestine protection money to anybody in the PNP or any law enforcement agency because our operations have been cleared and authorized by no less than the Court of Appeals in a ruling issued just last January 15,” Vitriolo said.
Osmeña had alleged that Garma, as head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Central Visayas, received payola of P1 million a week in exchange for police protection for the Peryahan ng Bayan games in Bohol.
Vitriolo said they were saddened that their company has been dragged into the conflict between Osmeña and Garma, and that the mayor has besmirched Globaltech's reputation.
He said Peryahan ng Bayan games have been legal and above board even during Garma's stint as CIDG chief because of a status quo ante (SQA) order issued in May 2016 by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 161.
The Court of Appeals Eighth Division, in a ruling on January 15, upheld such SQA, allowing Globaltech to continue operating Peryahan ng Bayan games nationwide after the experimental test run authorized by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The lower court's order allows Peryahan ng Bayan games while the PCSO and Globaltech undergo an arbitration proceeding. The PCSO wants Peryahan ng Bayan games terminated after Globaltech's Deed of Authority expired in March 2016.
“With the CA ruling of last January 15, our operations are legal and aboveboard. We have been authorized to operate our Peryahan ng Bayan games in all provinces, and in all cities and municipalities in the country; and as a duly registered and tax-paying juridical entity, we should be given security and protection by the PNP as well as all other government law enforcement agencies,” Vitriolo added.
Osmeña and Garma have been locked in a squabble, with the mayor filing administrative and criminal charges against the local police chief over alleged irregularities in police operations.
Read: Osmeña files admin, criminal complaints vs Garma
Garma, for her part, has accused the mayor of illegal activities, such as playing poker in illegal gambling dens. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)