Philippines lawmaker challenge Duterte on POGO controversy
Philippines Senator Richard issued a rare public rebuke of President Rodrigo Duterte regarding the Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator (POGO) industry and its relationship to money laundering operations. He went to suggest that those same POGO operatives offered him a massive bribe to shut down his investigation of their activities.
In a statement to the Philippines media, as reported on by Newsinfo.Inquirer.net, Senator Gordon suggested that the President was being misled by anyone who suggested that POGOs were not involved in money laundering. “I wish the President wouldn’t make remarks like that especially since a co-equal branch of government is investigating a very, very serious situation where hundreds of millions of dollars are coming into our country.”
Duterte recently shot down talk of shutting down POGOs because of potential money laundering activity saying, “I assure you, I assure you that every centavo that can be found there in gaming supervised by PAGCOR, are accounted for. There is no corruption there and I will not consent.”
Gordon responded to Duterte’s assurances by saying that he would not stop investigating, adding, “We don’t stop because this is a democracy, we don’t stop our investigation just because somebody is saying ‘No, that’s not true.’”
Senator Gordon’s doubts about the straight and narrow nature of POGOs are likely tainted by his recent allegation that a POGO operator recently approached him with an offer of $25 million ($490,000 USD) if he would call off the investigation. Senator Gordon obviously turned down the bribe, but the controversy surrounding POGOs, and their impact on the Philippines economy, will likely continue.
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