SENATOR Richard Gordon on Tuesday said he was offered a P25 million bribe to stop his Senate Blue Ribbon committee public hearing on the entry into the country of billions of pesos for money laundering through the controversial operation of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).
Gordon said he was not against the continued operation of POGO in the country as long as they are strictly regulated by government agencies and pay more in taxes.
“I don’t want POGO to close down immediately. I just wanted it regulated,” Gordon said.
Last Monday, President Duterte shrugged off the money laundering allegations being linked with the controversy-laden POGO operations, stressing that he refused to shut them down because the government needed the money they were generating.
The bribe, according to Gordon during a briefing for Senate reporters, was supposedly offered by a lawyer of a Rodriguez family through a friend.
The senator added that this bribery attempt only shows that the Rodriguez family committed something illegal.
He said his committee hearing will resume on Thursday as scheduled and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will be tasked to arrest them if they fail to appear before his committee.
The NBI has a copy of a Senate subpoena for the Rodriguezes to appear before the Senate committee, Gordon said.
“Don’t go through my friends. I will not accept what you say,” he added.
Of the P25 million, P5 million will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and the P20 million to the senator.
Gordon agrees with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that the current amount of tax that POGO operators pay is very small.