By Emmanuel Tupas | The Philippine Star
January 29, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — Chinese workers from Philippine offshore gaming operator firms are reportedly being snatched from their workplaces and sold to illegal POGO companies in an elaborate scheme by criminal syndicates in connivance with scalawags in government.
The alleged modus operandi was revealed by Ruth Pomposelli, a former operator of a licensed POGO firm based in Las Piñas, who appealed to President Marcos to look into the matter.
“Appeal ko sa gobyerno, sa lahat ng public at sa ating mahal na Pangulo, sana mabigyan ng pagkakataon na malaman niyo ang katotohanan sa POGO (I am appealing to the government, to the public and to the President for the truth about POGOs to be made known),” she said during the Kamuning Bakery Cafe’s Pandesal Forum yesterday.
Pomposelli was accompanied in the forum by Diego Magpantayan, president of the Citizens Crime Watch Anti-Corruption Task Force, who said the syndicates would not have flourished if not for the involvement of corrupt police officers and other people in government.
Pomposelli said operatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection Center, backed by police officers from Las Piñas, raided their building in October last year.
Pomposelli said the police officers told them they were looking for six Filipinas who were reportedly kidnapped and being kept at the POGO firm against their will.
She said the police team leader got angry at her for repeatedly demanding the names of the kidnap victims.
According to Pomposelli, the heavily armed police officers then went into their offices and took 72 Chinese workers.
Concerned over the safety of the workers, Pomposelli went to the Bureau of Immigration and the Chinese embassy but she was told their employees were not turned over to them.
She was surprised the Chinese workers were brought to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office in Mandaluyong City.
Pomposelli wondered why their employees were endorsed to the DSWD’s field office in Las Piñas.
What is more surprising, Pomposelli said, only 52 of their workers were at DSWD’s office, which means 20 were missing.
It was only later that she learned from a friend, a lawyer who represents POGOs, that their 20 employees were reportedly sold to POGO firms in Cavite and Pasay for P500,000 each.
Pomposelli said she was asked to pay the same amount to get her workers back but she said she could only pay P100,000 for every worker.
Pomposelli said their 52 other workers also went missing and she believes they were also sold to other companies.
She said she had heard rumors that corrupt police officers are forcibly taking Chinese workers from licensed POGO firms in the guise of raids and selling the foreigners to other companies but she never thought she would actually experience it.
It also appears that there are individuals who are acting as mediators between POGOs and government scalawags.
“Meron talaga silang suki (They have regulars),” Pomposelli said in a separate interview, but did not elaborate.
The PNP has yet to comment on Pomposelli’s allegations.