The Philippine National Police (PNP) has been authorized to arrest any government employee caught gambling inside casinos nationwide, PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Wednesday.
"Hindi naman malala ang problema sa gambling but the President wanted to fulfill his promise to fight corruption. 'Yung gambling is associated with corruption," Dela Rosa told reporters after a signage warning government employees against gambling was unveiled at a mega casino in Parañaque.
"Bawal sila (government employees) sa gambling area. Sa mga restaurants, okay lang... hindi kasama ang sabungan, casino lang," the PNP chief said.
Before the policy was implemented, local government officials who were caught playing in casinos were simply asked to leave the gambling establishments, Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chairperson Andrea Domingo said.
"'Pag nakilala sila, sinasabihan, nilalapitan na 'sir, bawal po,'" Domingo said.
In recent months, at least 20 local officials, mostly from the province, were caught playing in casinos, Domingo said.
Dela Rosa said policemen who will be spotted inside gambling areas will be removed from service.
"Mga pulis, idi-dismiss ko kayo talaga. Habang pulis ka, kahit na milyonaryo ka, sumunod ka. Utos ni presidente na wag kayo magsugal," he said.
Officials who will be caught in casinos will have to face criminal and administrative charges, he added.
- with a report from Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News.