Arrest of government employees in casino questioned

A LAWMAKER on Wednesday, January 31, slammed the Philippine National Police's (PNP) order to arrest government officials and employees caught gambling inside casinos.

At a press conference, ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene Michael De Vera said there is no law imposing criminal liability on gambling politicians.

"Wala namang crime na ganun e. Ang implausible penalty under sa Pagcor (Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation) charter ay administrative liability lang ng empleyado na maglalaro sa loob ng Pagcor casino at iyon ay conduct prejudicial to the interest of the government," De Vera said.

"Hindi sila pwede arestuhin dahil administrative liability yan, walang krimen na ginagawa ang paglalaro ng isang emplyado sa casino," he added.

Last week, PNP Chief General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa authorized the arrest of any government officials inside casino. He reminded policemen that they are prohibited from entering casinos.

Dela Rosa said those arrested will have to face criminal and administrative charges.

De Vera, however, said the PNP could not file criminal charges against these officials.

Although an administrative complaint could be filed against politicians caught gambling, De Vera said the stiffest penalty that can be meted upon them is a one-year suspension.

According to Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo, at least 20 officials were caught playing in casinos in recent months.

Before the policy was implemented, all these officials were simply asked to leave the casinos, Domingo said.

The PNP has yet to comment to De Vera's statement.

Presidential Decree 1869 and Memorandum Circular Number 6 prohibit all government officials and employees, including policemen, from entering and gambling in casinos. (SunStar Philippines)
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