Latest Stories

Luxe casinos will bring more evils, bishop warns


Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—While admitting that his antigambling campaign has become a “voice in the wilderness,” retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz on Friday warned of evils that can be lured into the country with the opening of big casinos in Manila early next year.

The 78-year-old leader of the Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng said the casinos would invite “goons and gangsters” who would engage in money laundering and prostitution, thus threatening Filipino values.

He said gambling was not only addictive but also corruptive, as it would encourage people to commit acts of dishonesty to finance the bad habit. “As far as these casinos are concerned, they are frequented not only by rich and dishonest Filipinos but also by foreign gangsters,” he said.

“The administration cannot claim that casinos are OK because [proceeds from the levy collected by the government] build schools, finance this and that infrastructure. The end does not justify the means,” said Cruz in a phone interview with reporters. “Gambling can never be justified.”

Opening in March

The antigambling crusader was reacting to reports that the $1.2-billion Solaire Resort, owned by port magnate Enrique Razon Jr. and the first of four casinos that will operate in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s Las Vegas-style Entertainment City on Manila Bay, was slated to open in March.

The government is hoping to boost inbound tourist traffic with the opening of the 100-hectare gaming complex in Pasay City, which is expected to draw at least one million tourists yearly and generate $10 billion in annual gaming revenue.

Earlier, the Department of Tourism welcomed the gaming complex, saying that once completed, it will help the government hit its 10-million target of foreign tourist arrivals by the end of the Aquino administration in 2016.

Cruz acknowledged that operating casinos in the capital would help draw more tourists into the country. “But at what expense? So you’ll be inviting gangs and goons who are gamblers. I still have to see a gambler who is a saint,” said the retired archbishop.

Exasperated, Cruz said he and his group would not make any move to stop the casinos from being operated or to encourage Filipinos to boycott these establishments.

He pointed out that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines had already issued a statement against any forms of gambling in the country.

‘Voice crying in wilderness’

“I’m tired already of doing that. I’m like a voice crying in the wilderness [and] this administration does not seem to know the distinction between right and wrong, proper and improper, ethical and unethical. So, therefore, this administration is a big liability for the Filipino culture,” he said.

“Avarice or greed does not know any bounds, does not respect any values. I’ll just limit myself there. I won’t say this and that because I’ve already done enough to help put a stop to gambling, legal or illegal, but nothing happened,” he added.

Cruz has repeatedly expressed his frustration at the Aquino administration for its failure to put a lid on “jueteng,” an illegal numbers game, which has continued to operate in many parts of the country.

“The antigambling crusade appears to have lost hope for a better governance, especially on the part of the present administration but it does not mean that I will act like the three monkeys—hear nothing, see nothing and say nothing,” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Archbishop Oscar Cruz , casino , Enrique Razon Jr. , Entertainment City , Jueteng , Las Vegas , Luxury Casinos , Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. , Solaire Resort

  • Saint Luci

    Macau is a gambling city, with legalized prostitution. But there are less thieves/robbers and the like in that city compared to Metro Manila.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_A4G6HCUTKODSQ3Q2GTIATXCU6E Mikaela Roberts

    If the church starts building mass housing for the poor and homeless then that is the only time I may start believing that the church indeed is concern on the welfare of every Juan.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • Marketplace