Offshore gaming firms cry harassment by NBI
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A group of offshore gaming operators decried the alleged harassment by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who conducted a raid against one of its members over the weekend.

The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO), a group of offshore gaming operators duly licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), said a team from NBI’s Cybercrime Division insisted on serving a search and seizure order against Greatfeat Services Inc. in Makati City.

NBI agents led by a certain Wally Pallatao went to the offices of Greatfeat at the Lepanto Building on Friday, carrying with them a search and seizure order against the employees and occupants of Arriba Universal for allegedly violating anti-gambling laws. 

Judge Reynaldo Daway of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 90 issued the warrant.

However, POGO said the listed address is the office of Greatfeat, not Arriba Universal. 

“Hence, there’s no legal basis for enforcing the warrant,” POGO said.

 In their report to POGO, Greatfeat said the NBI agents rounded up their employees, segregated the Chinese and Filipino staff, confiscated their mobile phones and even took three computers. It was not immediately known why and where the computers were taken.

POGO is currently consulting Pagcor and studying its legal options to protect legitimate offshore gaming operators from harassment.

 “POGO members paid almost P1 billion in license fees alone. We are Pagcor’s partner in raising revenues for government and creating job opportunities. POGO members deserve to be treated fairly,” the group said.         

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