Oscar Cruz, retired archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and anti-illegal gambling advocate, is asserting top government officials should display delicadeza (kindness and sensitivity towards people) by leaving online gambling in the Philippines to ordinary citizens.
Cruz was reacting to reports that Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, several senators, and members of the National Police (PNP) officials have caught “lottery fever”. Many, including the interior secretary, have not only placed bets on Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)’s 6/55 Grand Lotto draw, with a jackpot of over 400 million pesos (9 million USD), but also even admitted to doing so.
Cruz’s issue is not with the Philippines gambling laws, but rather “I personally am not in favor of their high position and it is not also in accord of proper values that these honorable gentlemen would still play lotto and definitely this is not to help the poor but to try their luck in the big amount prize money when in fact they already have more than enough.”
One senator, Sen. Joker Arroyo called lotto betters “greedy” as they coveted the 380 million peso jackpot, but went on to say “So they are also greedy, I’m just joking, if they like to they can dream . . . Dreams are the ones that make life miserable. I am not dreaming. I don’t know any kind of game of chance. I only know blackjack.”
Gambling enjoys immense popularity and internet gambling in the Philippines is legal. Filipinos can either gamble at an online casino in the Philippines run by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which is government owned and operated, or at foreign internet gaming sites. PAGCOR was consolidated with PSCO in 2005.