If the expression, “It takes a thief to catch a thief,” is true, could it also be possible to say, “it takes a gambler to combat illegal gambling?” In the beleaguered Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte is about to find out.

Earlier this week, Duterte make a public statement declaring that he had been in contact with a man named Atong Ang in an effort to help combat illegal gambling in the island nation. Ang is an intriguingly odd pick as he is widely regarded as one of the top gamblers in the nation. Ang is also known to have ties to the country’s extensive illegal gambling industry.

So would this be a case of the fox guarding the hen house? Or is Duterte just crazy like a fox? In an interview with the Sun Star Manila, Duterte explained the situation saying:

I called him. I told him, ‘Atong, you are the number one gambler here in Davao. You operated all (the gambling facilities here). Let’s not fool each other. You go to the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office), stop all your illegal activities, and help the government.

Atong recently appeared before a Philippines Senate inquiry into problems that have been plaguing PCSO for quite some time. Ang recommended that control of the lottery be taken out of local hands and be controlled from a higher level.

Ang is not likely to be a popular figure at PCSO, he was recently accused of offering nearly $4 million in bribes to PCSO board members in exchange for control of lucrative small town lotteries.

As of this writing, Ang had not publicly responded to Duterte’s statement.


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