There now seems an issue more bewitching than the perceived dark of e-bingo as a gambling:Â Â Two â€œofficialâ€ letters from the city mayor to the council on the electronic gambling are in conflict with each other.
The â€œstunning differenceâ€ between the two communications could lead to a disturbing question of which one was genuine as officially transmitted by Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap II and duly received by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP).
This is in the midst of the public desire to know whether it is the camp of the mayor or group of Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso, who is the SP presiding officer, â€œrevivingâ€ the Church-assailed e-bingo entry proposals by at least three separate private investors.
In an exclusive interview he set at his office, Yap asserted that he did write on January 23, 2015 to the SP thru the vice mayor but only to manifest his desire for â€œappropriate actionâ€ that the council might take on the e-bingo application.
The mayor was referring to the reiterated application from the Diamond Millennium Corporation, which is based on Cagayan de Oro City to operate an e-bingo facility here.
By â€œappropriate action,â€ the mayor said he meant that it would be up to the council to approve or junk the proposal.
Yap provided the media in the same exclusive interview an unsigned computer printout of his supposed original, final official letter to the SP.
But a copy of the letter from the mayor, also dated January 23, 2015, officially received and acknowledged by the office of Veloso at 2:49pm on January 26 and by the SP at 3:40pm on the next day did not mention of â€œappropriate action.â€
The opening paragraph of the said letter said the mayor â€œforwardedâ€ the reiterated e-bingo proposal to the SP for the latterâ€™s â€œconsideration.â€
The letter, bearing the mayorâ€™s signature, then ended in next—and only other—paragraph, a one-liner, thanking the SP.
The mayor said there was no such letter except for the â€œgenuineâ€ one which printout copy he showed in the interview.
The signed original of the printout was the purportedly the one officially transmitted to the vice mayor and the SP.
The copy of the supposed original, final official letter showed and provided by the mayor during the interview shows a third paragraph in-between the two paragraphs in the letter received by the vice mayor and SP.
In the said paragraph that was otherwise missing in the letter received by the vice mayor and the SP, the mayor told the council he was â€œanticipatingâ€ for the council membersâ€™ â€œappropriate actionâ€¦in the interest of public service.â€
Yap further clarified that he did not â€œendorseâ€ but merely â€œforwardâ€ the e-bingo application for any appropriate action by the city legislature.
The private proponent of the e-bingo first submitted its proposal in 2013 and, on October 13 of the same year, the mayor likewise forwarded it to the SP.
In his October 13, 2015 letter to the SP, the mayor wrote he was â€œanticipating your (SP members) all out-support and favorable cooperationâ€¦in the interest of public service.â€
The letter was received by the SP on October 22, 2013 or 10 days since the date it was written. (On October 15, 2013, Bohol island was hit and devastated by a powerful earthquake that also damaged the city hall.)
Both the mayorâ€™s letters on January 23, 2015 and October 13, 2013 as duly received by the SP were quoted by Councilor Augustinus Gonzaga in a radio interview.
In January this year, another e-bingo investor, the One Bingo Pavillon based in Pasig City, presented itsÂ Â own proposal addressed to the mayor thru the vice mayor.
Like the others, it got no favorable action from the city council.
In a letter to the vice mayor last month, Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran manifested the Churchâ€™s stance against the evil of gambling, including e-bingo.
The mayor admitted having met with the bishop before the latterâ€™s statement in his letter to the SP presiding officer.
In his formal reply to the bishop, the Veloso assured that he and the council â€œshare the same devotion to promote the goodness and betterment of the human person.â€ (Ven rebo Arigo)