Press Release
April 18, 2022

Tolentino blasts PAGCOR as e-sabong continues to proliferate during Good Friday

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino took a swipe at the leadership of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for allowing the operation of online sabong to continue even during traditional religious holidays.

Tolentino got furious upon learning that e-sabong operations continue to proliferate during traditional holidays like the recent 'Good Friday' last April 15.

"There was a gross violation of our faith. I don't know why it was done," said Tolentino during Monday's inquiry of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs in connection with mysterious disappearances of close to three-dozen cockfighting aficionados.

Good Friday is usually a traditional day of fasting, abstinence and sacrifice for the country's Christian-Catholic majority, in commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus Christ.

Reports reaching Tolentino's office bared that e-sabong operator Pitmasters Live of gambling tycoon Charlie 'Atong' Ang last Good Friday was 'business as usual' and even carried out more than 200 matches (sultada) while other commercial establishments across the country opted to close, out of respect for the said religious feast.

Tolentino stressed that "PAGCOR slept on its job" and forgot that they are supposed to regulate as they claimed they are regulating.

"Ang nagre-regulate hinayaan yung nireregulate na magbukas at mag operate. There were even e-sabong activities last Good Friday," he added.

Tolentino noted that while majority of PAGCOR-operated casinos were closed out of respect for the Good Friday commemoration, the country's gambling regulatory agency neglected its duty for allowing these e-sabong operators to desecrate religious traditions and were allowed to conduct operations during a religious feast being sacredly celebrated in the country for more than five centuries.

"Mr. Chairman, I noticed that even on a Good Friday, contrary to what PAGCOR has been saying that they have been regulating e-sabong, on that very Good Friday two days ago there was e-sabong. Eh nakakagulat naman po iyon. There should be a semblance of respect for our (religious) traditions, and I ask PAGCOR why this happens?" Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government stressed.

Senator Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa, panel chair agreed to Tolentino's manifestation, adding that such acts made by the e-sabong operators and the negligence on the part of PAGCOR tantamount to sacrilege of religious traditions.

Meanwhile, Tolentino admitted that it will take more weeks or months to craft a legislation for the 19th Congress on regulating gambling such as e-sabong that will reflect not only the needs of the times but even the deeply-rooted character as a Christian nation.

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