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Monday, January 08, 2007

 

No casino in Metrowalk, 
says Pasig City mayor

BY Francis Earl A. Cueto, Reporter

There is no new casino operating at the Metrowalk mall in Ortigas, Pasig City, Mayor Vicente Eusebio said on Sunday, citing a report by police investigators.

Eusebio also reiterated his administration’s stand against all forms of gambling but said the report on the alleged casino could be part of a political smear drive by his rivals.

The mayor vowed to block the entry of gambling and denied issuing any permit for a casino or any gaming den at the Metrowalk.

Eusebio said he ordered cops to investigate media reports.

The police, he said, inspected the entire Metrowalk and found no casino operating in the area.

Eusebio added that he has a long-standing order to the Business Permit and Licensing Office to scrutinize carefully business entities applying for business permits.

In June last year, Eusebio blocked the entry of Small Town Lottery under the supervision of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

The mayor, noting the influx of legitimate business investors, said there is no need for the local government to flirt with gambling investors.

“Since the beginning of my administration, I have remained steadfast and firm with my moral obligation not to allow gambling like jue­teng and other vices in my city and to this, I am committed,” Eusebio stressed.

It was Barangay Kapasigan Pasig Councilor Victorino Obina that exposed the operation of the casino. The councilor claimed casino operations started Wednesday last week at a two-story building near the Arellano’s Wine.

He described it as a “first-class” operation that would rival that of the establishment in the James Bond flick, “Casino Royale” which carries high roller stake betting or huge betting are involved.

He refused to name the maintainer of the casino but described him as a close relative of an influential politician with known ties to gambling.

Efforts to get the side of Ricardo Lim, general manager of the Metrowalk mall, remain futile as he was reportedly refused to face the media to shed light on the alleged illegal operation of the casino. Not even Eusebio could issue an official statement about the operation of the casino.

 The 5,000-sqm Metrowalk in Pasig is part of the surrendered assets of Marcos crony Jose Campos.

Metrowalk, a commercial and leisure hub, is part of an 18.4-hectare expanse in the heart of the metropolis, almost as big as Eastwood City in Libis, and twice the size of Greenbelt and SM Megamall.

   
 

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Ping Oco, Franklin Bartolay
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