Duterte can ban casinos in Boracay even without EO, says justice secretary

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2018 11:05 AM | Updated as of Nov 09 2018 01:34 PM

MANILA - Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday clarified that even without an executive order, President Rodrigo Duterte can still ban casino operations in Boracay.

"With or without an EO, the President has the power and the tools to stop casino operations,” Guevarra told ABS-CBN News.

“The only advantage of an EO is that it sets a long-term policy and provides a formal framework for all government actions pertaining to the subject matter,” he said.

Duterte earlier said during a speech in Boracay that an executive order is no longer needed to declare Boracay free from casinos.

“No. I’ll just say huwag na lang. Anyway it’s a privilege, whether I put it in writing or say it verbally,” he said.

Guevarra had previously advised Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat to urge the President to issue an executive order as it is the “most expedient and effective” means to stopping casino operations in the island.

In his October 8 letter to Romulo-Puyat, Guevarra acknowledged two other options:
-for the Department of Tourism to withhold accreditation of hotels and casinos
-for the President to issue directives to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the revocation/non-renewal/non-issuance of gaming licenses and business permits of hotels and casinos

“Anything less than an EO would appear more transitory and would water down the President’s understandably steadfast desire to disassociate Boracay Island with big-business gambling,” the justice secretary had said in his letter to Puyat.