DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) prosecutors have dismissed the criminal charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against 15 employees of Globaltech Mobile Online Corp. for operating the “Peryahan ng Bayan” in Quezon City.
In a resolution issued last week, dismissed were the criminal cases for illegal gambling under Republic Act No. 9287 filed against the employees who were arrested last month.
It stated that when the NBI raided the PBs in Quezon City last month, Globaltech did not violate RA 9287 despite the revocation of its license in 2016 by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
During the investigation of the cases, the DoJ prosecutors found that Globaltech was able to secure a status quo ante order (SQAO) from the Pasig City regional trial court (RTC) that stopped temporarily the revocation of its license.
While the issue on the SQAO has been elevated by the PCSO before the Court of Appeals (CA), the appellate court has not issued any injunction against the trial court’s order.
The DoJ resolution was signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Amenda Garcia and Florencio Dela Cruz Jr. and Associate Prosecution Attorney Criselda Teoxon.
“NBI operatives’ reliance in the documents submitted by the PCSO and a letter from one Marcelo Flores is misplaced considering that the same are not verified, hearsay, self-serving and full of partiality and therefore are not sufficient to establish a valid warrantless arrest,” the resolution stated.
Citing records from the Pasig City RTC, the resolution pointed out that “the Status Quo-Ante Order still stand, not having been set aside, reversed nor modified.”
The resolution stressed that the PCSO’s petition with the CA “clearly shows its recognition that the Status Quo Ante Order is still in effect and subsisting; and there is no proof that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or injunctive relief has been issued by the appellate Court.”
“Thus, it is without a doubt that at the time of the implementation of the search warrant in the subject premises of Globaltech, its operation of the numbers game Peryahan ng Bayan is still duly covered by a valid and subsisting authority/license from PCSO. Consequently, respondents cannot be considered as engaged in an illegal numbers game at the time they were arrested,” the resolution added.
The operation of PBs in Quezon City was raided by the NBI on a complaint filed by Marcelo Flores, vice president of Great Platinum Gaming Online, who claimed that Globaltech’s operations were illegal.
On the basis of the complaint, the NBI secured search warrants before the Quezon City RTC. (Rey Panaligan)