DAGUPAN Mayor Benjamin S. Lim acting on the complaint of Archbishop Socrates Villegas of the Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese, ordered the immediate revocation of the business permit issued to T2 RAF Electronic Gaming Station owned by Rafael Tabora for the operation of an online casino shop in Dagupan.
Archbishop Villegas, spearheading the movement against gambling in the city, lambasted the city government for allowing the operation of an online casino on Perez Boulevard.
The operator had claiming it had a business permit duly signed by the mayor, has reportedly been operating since the early part of September.
The gambling operation was calendared for discussion before the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) after Barangay Chairwoman Salvacion Bravo of Herrero Perez, where the business is located, revoked the business clearance inadvertently granted to the firm by the barangay secretary earlier after the company paid a P1,000 fee plus garbage fee.
Lim issued the order in reaction to the ‘angry’ letter from Villegas even as the sangguniang panlungsod approved a resolution last Monday asking the mayor to revoke the permit issued to the operator.
The SP resolution also sought an investigation in aid of inquiry to determine who was responsible behind the issuance of the fake business permit.
Councilor Brian Lim, son of the mayor, attempted to stop the resolution by reporting that his father already revoked the business permit.
The revocation of T2’s business permit was reportedly made Tuesday after the SP took note of the letter of Villegas but PUNCH sources confirm that the online casino continued to operate as of Thursday.
In an interview with the PUNCH, Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez denied that the SP granted T2 a franchise to operate in the city which could have been the only basis for the issuance of the business permit as mandated by the local government code.
The mayor’s office did not explain how and why the business permit was issued without a franchise from the city council.
In his letter to the mayor dated September 17, 2012, Villegas wrote, “As a registered voter of Dagupan and as the representative of the Catholic faithful in Central Pangasinan, I want to make known to the city government our strongest objection to the opening of this online casino in our city.”
He said the business permit granted to T2 gaming station will “open the door to the degradation of morality, the destruction of family life, the corruption of children and the promotion of a culture of chance rather than honest toil in our community”.
Villegas also noted, “After awarding Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz the recognition of being an outstanding citizen of Dagupan City, we slap him with the news that the city that honored him has just opened an online casino!”
Cruz, archbishop emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan, founded the “Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng“, an organization that seeks to end the illegal numbers game around the country.
Others who have expressed opposition include the Panangaro Foundation Incorporated led by Aurora Reyna as president, Rosalynda de Venecia as vice president and Dr. Zenaida Torio as secretary.
The City Schools Division through Education Supervisor Edilberto Abalos, in a letter noted by City Schools Superintendent Alma Ruby Torio, wrote to the SP urging the city government not to allow the operation of electronic-gaming in the city.
The St. John Child Care Center through Carina Malicdem, project administrator, expressed concern that the online casino will lure children to gambling.
JCI Dagupan president Marvin Carvajal also wrote to the mayor dated September 5, 2012, copy furnished Councilor Luis Samson Jr., asking “not to allow our city to be an ‘Agent of Disaster’”.