You are on page 1of 12
OQ) MANILA COCKERS CLUB ) 15 August 2018, HONORABLE GUS S. TAMBUNTING Chairman COMMITTEE ON GAMES AND AMUSEMENTS Rm. RVM-102 House of Representatives, House of Representatives - 17 Congress Quezon City, Philippines Re: LEGAL POSITION ON House RESOLUTION No. 598 Sis: Manila Cockers Club, Inc.’s (MCCT’) formally states its legal position on the matters raised during the Committee hearing on the operation of its OffCockpit Betting Stations (the “OCBS”) held last 13 August 2018. LMCI operates in accordance with law, ‘The legal framework behind MCCI's operations is found in thres (3) national laws, to wit: (i) Presidential Decree No, 449, otherwise known as the “Cockfighting Law of 1974” (the “Cockfighting Law”); (ii) Republic Act No, 7160, otherwise known as the “Local Government Code of 1991" (the “Local Government Code”); and (iii) Republic Act No. 8792, otherwise known as the “E-Commerce Act of 2000” (the “E-Commerce Act’). (A) Cockfighting is a legal form of gambling sanctioned by the Cockfighting Law and the Local Government Code. Congress has the power to either prohibit or allow certain forms of gambling, In Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corporation, the Supreme Court said that “[glambling is not illegal per se. xxx [tis left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit.” 1GR. No, 111097, July 20, 1994, 234 SCRA 255; cited in Teves v. Comelee, G.R. No, 180863, April 28, 2009. Cockfighting is a gambling activity sanctioned by national law, ie., the Cockfighting Law. The Local Government Code amended the Cockfighting Law by exclusively vesting the Local Government Units (LGUs) with unqualified authority to license cockfighting, including betting therein. The Local Government Code states that LGUs are vested with sole and exclusive authority to authorize and license the establishment, operation, and maintenance of cockpits, and regulate cockfighting and commercial breeding of gamecocks,? (B) E-Commerce Act applies to MCCI’s OCBS operations. As discussed above, MCCI’s OCBS utilize a totalizator system wherein bets are placed in an OCBS terminal which then transmits the bet data via fiber optic telephone lines to the totalizator system server located at Carmona, Cavite, where the cockfights are being held. The totalizator then accepts the bet and sends a corresponding confirmation to the OSBS terminal similarly via telephone line. The above described pracess falls under the E-Commerce Act which provides that an electronic data message is received at the time it enters a designated information system and at the place where the addressee maintains its place of business? Thus, said law determines the point where a contract coursed through electronic means, is perfected and consummated Applying the E-Commerce Act to MCCI's OCBS operations, a bet placed in an OCBS (the electronic message or document) is deemed perfected and consummated at the place where the bet is accepted, ie, MCCI's totalizator system located Carmona, Cavite. ‘The E-Commerce Act applies to all types of transactions and acts. The universal application of the F-Commerce Act is underscored in Section 4 of said law which states that the law applies to both commercial and non-commercial transactions.+ Further, the interpellations before the Senate as regards the scope of the E- Commerce Act lends to a liberal or wide application of the law to cover the transmission of any data used for any purpose.® 2 See Section 447(3)(v) and Section 458(3)(e) of the Local Government Code. 9 See Sections 21, 22 and 23 of the E-Commerce Act "Section 4, Sphere of Application - This Act shall apply to any kind of lata snessage and electronic document used in the context of commercial and non-commercial activities to include domestic and international dealings, transactions, arrangements, agreements, contracts and exchanges and storage of information.” 5 In the second reading of the bill, the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santlago clarified that the definition of an electronic contract as follows: “An electronic contract refers to all records generally. From the foregoing, the E-Commerce Act applies to bets in cockfights coursed Unough MCCT's OCBS. IL MCCI’s OCBS is not illegal gambling. + The 2017 OSG Opinion A legislative inquiry was conducted to determine the sufficiency of laws on cockfighting, which took into account the OCBS operations of MCL. In this inquiry, the House Committee on Games and Amusements sought an opinion from the Office of the Solicitor General (“OSG”) on whether the Games and Amusements Board (“GAB”) had authority to regulate the OCBS operations of MCCL. In the OSG opinion dated 01 August 2017 addressed to the Committee Chairman Gus 5, Tambunting (the “2017 OSG Opinion”), the OSG opined that: (1) GAB does not have jurisdiction over local cockfights as LGUs have exclusive power to authorize and regulate cockfighting; ard (2) The taking of bets OCBS constitutes illegal gambling as “{nJo law authorizes betting on cockfights in OTBs, or in any location remote from where the cockfight in question is held.” * MCCI’s Position Paper In our Supplemental Position Paper{Comment on House Resolution No, 598 dated 13 October 2017 (the “Supplemental Position Paper”), we addressed the 2017 OSG Opinion, as follows. (A) The Cockfighting Law does not criminalize or proscribe remote betting outside of cockpits or thra off-cockpit betting stations. Nowhere in the Cockfighting Law does it state that betting on cockfights shall only be done within the cockpit. processed, communicated or used for any purpese in any commercial or governmental transaction and the term ‘commercial’ should be given a wiele interpretation so as to cover matters arising from all relationships of a commercial nature, whether contractval or not.” (Senate Journal, Session No. 75, Tuesday, March 21, 2000.) See page 10 of the 2017 O8G Opinion.