What seems like a new row between the central and local Quezon City Authorities in the Philippines, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation( PAGCOR) is preparing to file a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Quezon City. In a press statement issued to CalvinAyre, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has now made it clear that they will file a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Quezon City to prevent a local ordinance restricting gambling from pushing through.
Earlier this week Joy Belmonte, Vice Mayor, Quezon City had issued a new ordinance which introduced a special fee to be paid by the residents if they were to enter any local casino. Firm against the ordinance, PAGCOR is committed to not letting it get implemented in Quezon City. As reported by Calvin Ayre, Pagcor says they would not be justifying their existence and fail their roles if they allow this ordinance to come into effect. Also, they wrote, “PAGCOR maintains that not taking this next important step is tantamount to the dereliction of its duties as gaming regulator.”
Justifying their stand with a handful of case laws which explain their position as far as constitutional legality of their intervention is concerned. From the legal angle, a Presidential Decree in 1869 followed by the Republic Act 9487 has authorised PAGCOR as the sole and supreme regulatory body for gambling. Further Presidential Decree 771 particularly “revoked that authority from local government units (LGUs), a local term for municipal government. Then a memo from the office of the President in 1996 made it clear that only the national government has the power to regulate gambling.”
The statement reads: “Hence, given the provisions of the law, it is clear that Quezon City’s proposed gaming regulatory ordinance is a violation of national law. With the filing of TRO, we are not only upholding the rule of law but also ensuring that people’s welfare are [sic] protected and LGUs will not be given a chance to abuse their authority.”
In their arguments to validate its stand against the ordinance, PAGCOR has already said that they are of an opinion based on research findings that introducing a fee does not deter problem gamblers; instead it can be counterproductive.
Also, they challenge the premises of the new ordinance by questioning the Quezon City Authority’s intention behind the move. According to Pagcor if they are trying to protect their citizens from getting into gambling, then why have they allowed Bloomberg to build Solaire Casino to begin with.