Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday warned that e-sabong operations, which had been stopped by President Duterte early this week, could return if the people let their guard down.
In a media interview, Cayetano said e-sabong operators are only letting things “cool down” before trying to make comeback either through the Senate which has more 11 session days after the May 9 elections or through the next administration.
“Sa totoo lang, magpapalamig lang ‘yan,” he said. “Tapos sa Senado naman pupunta para sa franchise, o sa next administration.”
The former Speaker urged faith-based and religious groups to continue teaching against online gambling and its ill effects, saying such activities will not prosper if no one patronizes them.
“Y’un nga ang aking pakiusap sa lahat ng faith-based group, sa mga kapatid natin sa iba’t ibang religion: isama talaga sa pagtuturo ang evils ng online gaming (at) gambling para bumalik man ito ay wala nang tataya,” he said.
He also said parents and teachers are “a big weapon” in the fight against online gambling.
Cayetano revealed that e-sabong franchises were “offered” to him when he was still House Speaker and that he was warned he would be removed from his position if he refused to have them approved.
“Tinanggihan ko, nilabanan natin,” he said. “Kokonti lang ang talagang lumaban dyan,” he added.
Cayetano said he sometimes felt like was “a voice in the wilderness” because he “kept talking about e-sabong even when some people were telling me to stop kasi may nagagalit na daw.”
But he said President Duterte’s decision to end e-sabong solidified his position that it is harmful to the people and to the nation.
“What the government earns from these online gambling operations pales in comparison to the losses the people incur in terms of gambling debt, crime, the breakup of families, and much much more,” he said.
Cayetano said the success of the fight against e-sabong is “a lesson to us all to pray and be persistent.”
“Kung tuloy tuloy ang pressure na ayaw natin ‘yan at mas gusto natin ng investments at trabaho, God willing po [hindi na ito makakabalik],” he said.