Senator Francis ‘Tol’ N. Tolentino on Wednesday urged the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to order the removal of the online sabong feature from existing e-wallet applications amid the latest order issued by Malacanang against the virtual cockfighting industry.
According to Tolentino, since President Rodrigo Duterte already ‘cut the legal umbilical cord’ of the e-sabong industry, the BSP which has the authority over online payment companies should likewise order the removal of the virtual cockfighting features from those e-wallet services.
Tolentino explained that since the questionable bases used by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) in regulating e-sabong–the two separate legal opinions issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General (SolGen) respectively–were already nullified following the issuance of a cease order by the President himself, there is no more reason for these e-wallet providers to maintain the virtual cockfighting feature from their respective mobile applications.
“(Since) na reverse na nga ng Pangulo yung opinyon ng Department of Justice at ng Solicitor General’s Office which served as bases for PAGCOR issuing license… the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas should likewise cut that cord, kasi ang naging basis ni Bangko Sentral is the license given by PAGCOR–based on the opinion of the Secretary of Justice (and SolGen) to grant a permit to GCash and Paymaya,” said Tolentino an interview with Net25.
In his pre-recorded ‘Talk to the Nation’ which was aired morning of Tuesday, the President upon the recommendation of Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano ordered that all existing e-sabong firms must cease their operations by evening of May 3.
Tolentino stressed that removing the online sabong feature from e-wallet applications like GCash and Paymaya will avert possible illegal betting from unsanctioned cockfights.
The senator noted that the reason why e-sabong has proliferated and became a multi-billion industry is the fact that the BSP recognized those licenses issued by PAGCOR to online sabong operators and allowed cockfight aficionados to place the bets through e-wallet services.
“Kapag inalis mo na iyong (feature) sa mga payment service providers, wala ng makakataya doon sa GCash through cellphone and Paymaya. So wala na. Papaano ka pa mag-a underground?” said Tolentino.