ANTIGAMBLING crusader Archbishop Oscar Cruz has agreed that online gambling must be stopped but criticized President Duterte’s support for casino operations.
The archbishop said over Radio Veritas that from a Christian perspective, gambling is wrong and that worthy charities from government-sanctioned casinos don’t make it right.
“It’s so hard to accept that gambling will be used to help the poor. The end does not justify the means,” said Cruz, who heads a nationwide crusade against gambling, including jueteng.
President Duterte earlier vowed to ban online gambling in the country because it lures more people to gamble, instead of working to earn a living.
He also said that earnings from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the state gambling regulator, would be used for health services.
The prelate admitted that he is grateful that the chief executive is against the proliferation of online gambling all over the country.
However, he said, the government cannot claim that casinos are good because the earnings can be used to fund public services.
“Gambling is gambling and don’t tell me that these gamblers are saints and holy,” said Cruz, archbishop-emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan.
In March the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines criticized the growing casino industry after the country was dragged into a money-laundering scheme and bank-heist controversy.
The bishops lamented how gambling continues to thrive in the country even if many countries have already made them illegal, criminal even.
They also said that large-scale and organized gambling has been linked to organized crimes like money laundering.