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Speaker Martin Romualdez on Friday ordered a congressional probe into the reported criminal activities linked with illegitimate Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

In a statement, Romualdez said the House probe will look into various criminal activities, including money laundering, human trafficking and other related offenses allegedly committed by illegal POGOs.

He said the congressional investigation is in line with the government’s commitment to curb illegal activities and ensure that existing regulations are effectively enforced.

โ€œWe cannot allow rogue POGO operators to persist in their illicit actions,โ€ Romualdez said. โ€œIt is imperative that we identify and unmask the masterminds and protectors behind these operations so they can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Romualdez said holding accountable the individuals responsible for protecting and facilitating these illegal operations is a priority of the House probe.

โ€œEnsuring the protection of local communities and individuals affected by the illegal activities of rogue POGO operators is crucial,โ€ he said.

He said the legislative inquiry would also analyze the effectiveness of current regulations and identify any gaps that allow these operators to evade the law.

โ€œThis is not just about enforcing the law. Itโ€™s about safeguarding our nation’s economic stability and protecting our citizens from the harmful effects of criminal enterprises,” he said.

Romualdez assured the public that the findings of the investigation would be used to craft stringent measures and reforms aimed at eradicating illegitimate POGO operations in the Philippines.

โ€œWe owe it to our citizens to ensure that the rule of law prevails and that criminal elements exploiting our system are brought to justice,โ€ Romualdez said. โ€œThis investigation is a crucial step towards restoring order and reinforcing the publicโ€™s trust in our institutions.”

Department of Justice spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said they immediately evaluate all cases regardless of who the respondents are.

This came following reports that a former Cabinet official allegedly lobbied for illegal POGOs in the country. (PNA | Filane Mikee Cervantes)

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