Senator tells Pagcor: End the contract with POGO auditor if there’s doubt

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa lauded the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) for putting its 5-year-old contract with its third-party auditor for offshore gaming operations (POGOs) under review

"For a start, maganda 'yan. Dapat ganung aksyon ang gagawin nila [That's good. That's the action they should take]," Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines' Politics As Usual, referring to Pagcor's move. 

The senator, however, also urged the state-run gaming regulator to end its multibillion-peso agreement with Global ComRCI if there is any uncertainty.

"We're expecting that kung talagang nagaalangan sila, medyo nagdududa sila, then ihinto na nila. Pwede naman nilang i-hinto yung kontrata na 'yan. Meron naman sa probisyon nung kontrata na 'pag hindi sila satisfied sa performance ng third-party auditor, pwede nilang ihinto yung kontrata," Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: If there's hesitation, a bit of doubt, then they should end it. They can terminate the contract. There is a provision that if they're not satisfied with the performance of the third-party auditor, they can end it.]

Following a dressing-down at the Senate on Monday, Pagcor clarified with CNN Philippines its involvement in some issues hounding POGOs, including its 2017 contract with Global ComRCI, which Dela Rosa and other senators criticized as having no capacity and credibility as an auditor.

RELATED: Gatchalian hits Pagcor for questionable 3rd party auditor

While Global ComRCI appears to have met the ₱1-billion operating capital requirement, senators found that it was certified by a certain Soleil Chartered Bank, which is not registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Dela Rosa said this is only among other POGO-related concerns that are and will be dug up during the Senate probe. He added that he expects the investigation to uncover those involved as well as the ambiguities within the industry.

The senator also mentioned that he has proposed requiring the attendance of Global ComRCI in the next inquiry on POGOs.

'Hold erring POGOs by the neck'

Not all POGO firms are troublemakers, according to Dela Rosa, but those involved in crimes should face tougher punishments.

"Hawakan niyo sa leeg itong POGO companies… Dapat ma-cleanse, bigyan ng ultimatum: 'Pag na-involve pa kayo sa krimen, i-cancel na ang permit niyo at umuwi na kayo kung saan kayo nanggagaling.' I-deport na ang mga ito," he said.

[Translation: Hold these POGO firms by the neck… They should be cleansed, given an ultimatum: "If you are still involved in crime, your permit will be canceled and you have to go back to where you came from." They should be deported.]