Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said that he wants to supress online gambling, which has become a magnet for kidnapping and extortion, The Rappler reports.
Duterte made the comments during a speech at the Philippine Quality Awards ceremony in Malacañang on Wednesday.
“Because gambling, look at Okada, all the kidnappers, extortionists, scalawag policemen, they kidnap right there in the hotel room. They call the family. “You don’t want to pay?” Then they will kill them,” he said.
However, Presidential spokesperson and chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Thursday clarified that Duterte likely only meant a crackdown on “illegal” online gambling firms.
“As far as I know, that refers only to illegal online gambling,” said Panelo.
In late 2016, Duterte threatened to close “all online gambling”. A month before that, the president siad he would allow online gambling companies as long as they paid taxes correctly and avoid locations near schools and churches.