Court Rejects Petition Questioning Pagcor’s Rules Governing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators

March 11, 2024 | Online Gaming

MANILA, Philippines (March 8, 2024) — The Supreme Court has rejected a petition challenging the validity of the Philippine government’s rules on Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos). The petitioners, including Jovencio Evangelista, Miguel Daniel Cruz, and the Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines Inc., failed to follow the hierarchy of courts and establish the elements required for a judicial review.

The petitioners questioned the constitutionality of the rules approved by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), arguing that Pagcor lacked the authority to operate and regulate online or offshore gaming. The rules, approved in 2016, outlined procedures for licensing, accreditation, and registration of offshore gaming operators, agents, and auxiliary service providers.

Petitioners Evangelista and Cruz contended that the issue was of “transcendental importance,” allowing them to challenge the constitutionality of the Pogo rules. However, the Supreme Court found that they did not provide “exceptionally compelling reasons” justifying the bypassing of the doctrine of the hierarchy of courts. This doctrine requires legal remedies to be sought first from a lower-ranked court.

The Supreme Court noted that questions about the validity and constitutionality of the rules could have been addressed by the Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over the subject matter. The petitioners failed to demonstrate how they would be adversely affected by the Pogo rules and did not specify which legal and constitutional rights were supposedly infringed by Pagcor’s regulation of offshore gaming operations. As a result, the Supreme Court denied the petition for lack of meeting the requirements for judicial review.

SOURCE: LI Staff (News Services).

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