Cayetano to House: Don’t railroad passage of second e-sabong franchise

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Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said he hopes the House of Representatives will not “railroad” a second bill granting a franchise to another company to operate online cockfighting (e-sabong) in the country.

In a letter to Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on September 28, 2021, Cayetano asked that he be informed if the bill granting the franchise to Visayas Cockers Club, Inc. would be taken up before the adjournment of Congress on Thursday, September 30.

“It is my fervent request that this will not be the case as it deprives the Members of the opportunity to raise questions on a bill of transcendental importance that must be discussed due to the destructive effect it has on our society,” Cayetano told Romualdez.

“Members of the House of Representatives are entitled to due notice of the matters that will be taken up during the plenary session. This is important to allow the members to study the proposed measure, prepare questions for interpellation, and formulate amendments, if necessary,” he added.

Cayetano asked that House members be given a day’s notice before interpellations and debate on the measure are scheduled for plenary deliberations.

“This is also to prevent delays in the discussion to ensure that the resource persons we requested to invite are present and that the documents we requested are provided – especially on the bill that I am pertaining to,” he said.

The first e-sabong franchise was granted to Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc. on September 13, 2021.

Cayetano noted that it took the House a mere day day to move the measure from Committee Recommendation, inclusion in the Order of Business, Period of Sponsorship, and finally to Approval on Second Reading.

The former Speaker wrote Romualdez a letter a week later on September 20, 2021 to register his protest on the rushed approval, but he said his motion “was not even read on the record.”

In his first letter to Romualdez, Cayetano had emphasized the importance of the proposed franchise because it was a “policy bill” as it was the first time in Philippine history that an e-sabong franchise would be granted.

“This will have grave moral implications on our daily lives,” he had said.

In his second letter to Romualdez on Tuesday, Cayetano reiterated that the matter ”involves our children and future generations.”

“It is imperative that there will be an opportunity to deliberate on this measure and it will not be ‘railroaded,’” he said.

Cayetano also requested that the Committee on Legislative Franchises invite the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), officials from the Department of Education, Church leaders and Christian organizations, and other important stakeholders “so that they may have the opportunity to present their sides, noting of the possible dire effects gambling could make on future generations of Filipinos.”###

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