By Macon Ramos-Araneta
Senate President Migz Zubiri on Monday condemned the kidnapping and murder of businessman Mario Uy, by four foreign nationals—three Chinese and one Vietnamese—who are now under Philippine National Police (PNP) custody.
He said these suspects may be connected to the gangs involved in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry.
“The horrific torture-slay of Mr. Uy is certainly not far from accounts of violence that have transpired in the POGO industry, and so I urge the PNP to look into this possibility,” Zubiri said.
According to Zubiri, it has long been their fear that the violence perpetrated by foreign gangs on POGOs will eventually graduate to violence against the public.
He said victims of human trafficking and the killing of Uy seem to point that these fears have very much become an alarming reality.
“I join the bereaved family in seeking justice for Mr. Uy’s death, and calling for stronger protection and prosecution against foreign organized crime syndicates such as this,” said Zubiri.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros meanwhile said she is sure that the PNP is already looking into the possibility that this gruesome murder is POGO-related.
Hontiveros said as the Senate Committee on Women previously uncovered, POGOs have been responsible for numerous criminal activities, such as prostitution, tax evasion, and illegal detention.
“In fact, our office assisted a Taiwanese national, alias Ivy, who escaped from a POGO company, after being illegally detained and sexually harassed, among others,” she said.
“Should this incident be proven to be POGO-related, it will only strengthen our longstanding call to kick POGOs out of the country,” said Hontiveros.
Hontiveros also said the committee she leads also found that kidnapping is one of the ways some POGO actors use to generate more income.
“Ang iba nangingidnap for ransom lalo na kung may mga hindi pagkakasunduan sa mga POGO players o sa POGO company. Kaya hindi malayong mangyari na POGO-related itong nangyaring kidnap-slay sa isang Chinese Filipino.”
Napatotohanan narin ng napakaraming imbestigasyon sa iba’t ibang kumite sa Senado na puro krimen lang ang dala ng online gambling kaya hindi kagulat-gulat kung ang patayang ito ay kaugnay nga sa POGO.
Should this incident be proven to be POGO-related, it will only strengthen our longstanding call to kick POGOs out of the country,” she said.
“I also urge Malacañang to support the Senate’s proposal to ban POGOs now,” Hontiveros said.