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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘Watch out for China moles’

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Navy spokesman: Penetration all over

China’s “penetration” into the economic and political affairs of the Philippines should be a cause for vigilance, according to Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Roy Trinidad.

This statement came in the heels of numerous reports, saying that Chinese incursion has not only been active in the West Philippine Sea, but also across the national instruments of power, including economics, political and even educational institutions.

Trinidad says this goes beyond coincidental, thus a serious reason to be vigilant because of the security threats they pose, Trinidad said in an interview with DZBB.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court-Office of the Court Administrator (SC-OCA) will be conducting a probe into allegations that the influence of illegal offshore gaming operators in the country may have already reached the judiciary.

SC spokesperson Camille Sue Mae Ting revealed that the OCA is now looking into the claim of the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) that a trial court in Malolos, Bulacan recalled the search warrant it issued early this month that prompted their operatives to call off a planned raid on a POGO hub in Porac, Pampanga.

PAOCC spokesman Winston John Casio claimed that the court withdrew the search warrant on mere technicalities and denied the agency’s application for a new warrant.

Due to the lack of a search warrant, Casio said PAOCC operatives failed to conduct a raid on the compound of the Lucky South 99 on Fil-Am Friendship Highway.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation however said alien hacking and scam syndicates (AHaSS) are the real threat to national security, not legitimate and licensed offshore gaming operators called POGOs.

In a statement yesterday, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco said legitimate Internet Gaming Licensees or IGLs generate funds for the government, contributing more than Php5 billion to PAGCOR’s gross revenues in 2023.

“To us, the real threat are the alien hacking and scam syndicates who operate underground, and they are the ones that our law enforcement agencies are trying to locate and dismantle,” Mr. Tengco said. “And we are cooperating fully with the authorities in this regard.” (Full story on B3)

The Navy official called on Filipinos living in areas where the presence of security forces are scarce to be watchful and observant, ready to report to authorities any suspicious or untoward activities of Chinese nationals.

While Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), he said, may not constitute, as of the moment, a security threat, Filipinos should remain mindful and aware of their operations.

“There are common crimes that happen in these POGOs. Why do they have high-powered firearms? They also have violations in our Customs Law and at the Land Transportation Office. Why do they have high-end sports cars, as if they are legal businessmen?” Trinidad said.

A recent raid in Pampanga of a POGO hub in Porac town revealed cash, jewelry, and suspected illegal drugs

Authorities on Saturday recovered bundles of cash, jewelry, and suspected illegal drugs in the latest raid at a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator hub in Porac town in Pampanga.

The seized items were wads of cash worth P60,000, about 10 sachets of suspected shabu, computers and parts, cellphones, assorted jewelry, and torture devices. They were discovered inside seven buildings within Luck South 99 during the search.

Authorities will continue the search on Sunday for suspects and possible victims of torture. The plan is to clear 40 buildings within Lucky South 99 and adjacent establishments.

Another POGO hub was raided on Thursday by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC).

According to Casio, the PAOCC is now investigating a possible leak in information on the raid, citing reports that people were seen leaving the Lucky South 99 compound 30 minutes after it applied for a search warrant last June 4.

“The OCA will be submitting a report on this. Let’s wait for that,” Ting said.

Ting earlier said the SC will also investigate the allegation of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian that POGO operators might have insiders not just in law enforcement agencies but also in the judiciary.

Gatchalian cited the recent raid conducted on a POGO hub in Porac, Pampanga by PAOCC where only 158 Chinese, Vietnamese, and Malaysian nationals were arrested due to possible leak on their pending operation.

The PAOCC earlier said they expected to arrest more than 1,000 individuals involved in various illegal activities inside the POGO hub.

“The Supreme Court will investigate these allegations,” Ting said.

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