WILL JACK LAM RETURN TO THE PHILIPPINES TO TURN HIMSELF IN?
Police chief reveals that Macau-based online gambling tycoon has put out "surrender" feelers.
The Philippines online gambling and bribery scandal keeps throwing up new developments almost daily, with the latest a report that Macau-based online gambling tycoon – the man at the centre of the furore – has put out tentative "surrender" feelers.
That information comes from the vociferous chief of police in the Philippines, General Ronald Dela Rosa, who told local reporters Wednesday that Lam has put out "surrender" feelers and may be returning to the country to face allegations of bribery and "economic sabotage" regarding his business activities in the Clark Freeport.
Lam's lawyers have repeatedly denied that he has done anything wrong, portraying him as a law-abiding businessman who has done much to develop the regional economy.
Pressed for more detail, Dela Rosa said he was unable to give a date for Lam's return, and confirmed that he was not seeking the assistance of Macau police because charges against Lam have still to be formulated.
In another development connected with the Philippines online gambling industry, a local anti-corruption watchdog, the Union for National Development and Good Governance-Philippines, has filed a petition for certiorari with the Philippines Supreme Court, asking it to nullify regulations issued by the board of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) last September allowing the regulator to issue offshore gaming licenses either to Philippine or offshore-based operators. That regulation was apparently implemented with Philippine presidential approval
The chairman of the watchdog, Miguel Daniel Cruz, claims the “Rules and Regulations for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations” issued by the Pagcor Board headed by its chair Andrea Domingo is unconstitutional, and wants the court to issue an injunction against Pagcor to stop the further implementation of the regulation, which has reportedly seen the award of licenses to 35 operators already.
Cruz further alleges that Pagcor gravely abused its discretion when it issued the rules on offshore gaming, stressing that Pagcor ‘s legislative franchise does not allow it to grant online gaming licenses catering to foreign players and gamblers outside the Philippine’s territorial jurisdiction. The 18-page petition goes into extensive legal detail on the issue, quoting several different laws.
"The rules on offshore gaming approved and currently implemented by Pagcor [are] null and void on the ground that Pagcor is patently without jurisdiction, legislative franchise, authority or power to issue licenses for the opening, establishment, operation, regulation, control and management on [online] gambling as defined under the Rules on Offshore Gaming,” the petition submits in summary.