MANILA–Alleged “jueteng” lord Charlie “Atong” Ang will be investigated for possible filing of tax evasion charges in connection to the numbers game operation of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said he will ask the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to determine the tax liabilities of Ang and his companies.
The DOJ Secretary said that government will also investigate alleged link of Ang with personalities behind the destabilization plot against the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Earlier, Aguirre challenged Ang to show evidence and file charges based on his allegations that he received death threats.
”Atong Ang should present evidence of his accusation and file the appropriate charges against me in court or any proper office. I know he cannot because there is absolutely no truth to his accusation,” he said.
The DOJ chief denied being a protector of illegal gambling based on the allegations of Ang.
”I categorically deny all the allegations of Atong Ang for being complete fabrication. I am not involved in illegal gambling. I am not a protector of illegal gambling. The same is true of his (Ang) unfounded allegation against my brother who is never involved in illegal gambling,” Aguirre stressed.
He believed the allegations of Ang was due to the raid operation conducted by authorites that resulted in the arrest of 1,316 illegal Chinese workers in Jack Lam’s Fontana Leisure Park and Casino in Clark, Pampanga last November.
”I believe that his (Ang) accusation is his way of getting back at me after I ordered the raid of Fontana Leisure Park that busted the billion-peso online illegal gambling operation that was being conducted thereat by his business partner and best friend Jack Lam,” he noted.
”The records of PAGCOR show that he (Ang) is the attorney-in-fact of Jack Lam in the latter’s effort to settle his liabilities to the Philippine government due to illegal gambling operations amounting to more than PHP13 billion so that he could again do business in the country,” Aguirre explained.
The DOJ Secretary also rebutted Ang’s claim, saying “If there is anybody who could be accused of being engaged or being a protector of illegal gambling it is Atong Ang who everybody knows is the owner and the controlling interest of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation, a company that is conducting gambling operations without paying proper taxes due to the Philippine government.”
Ang also claimed that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) wants Meridien’s operations stopped because of conflict with small-town lottery (STL).
Aguirre also denied that he ordered National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to kill Ang based on his allegations that he (Ang) received death threats for linking him (Aguirre) to the numbers game operation of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation.
”I likewise categorically deny that I have ordered that Mr. Atong Ang be killed by the NBI or by any group for that matter. Mr. Ang is imagining things,” he noted.
”This is clearly a demolition job against me, in conspiracy with the destabilizers of the Duterte administration,” he added.
Saying he has nothing to hide, Aguirre said he is ready to face any probe.
”I am ready to face any kind of investigation that might be conducted, be it legislative, criminal or administrative. I am not afraid as I have nothing to hide. My conscience is clear,” Aguirre said
Last week, police raided the gambling dens of Meridien in Tuguegarao City and Enrile and Peñablanca towns that result the arrest of 63 people involved in jueteng operations.
Ang’s employee Edwin Articulo led the raiding team to a sport utility vehicle where jueteng was being drawn in Barangay Catayaoan, Lasam.
Police also seized cash and computer units during the raid.
The raid came after Ang accused Aguirre and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. of plotting to kill him to eliminate jueteng and to expand government’s small-town lottery.
Meridien, which secured a license to operate within the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority in Sta. Ana town, expanded its operations to Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and Bicol.