MANILA, Philippines - It’s a case of barking up the wrong tree.Reacting to a news report that it is being haled to court by a certain group to stop the operation of online cockfight betting in all off-track betting stations (OTB), the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) reminded the petitioners that it cannot “perform an act” that it has no jurisdiction of.“To date, the Philracom has not received any order from the Supreme Court requiring it to comment on the alleged Petition for Mandamus filed by a certain Liga ng Eksplosibong Pagbabago Inc. (LEPI) to compel Philracom to order OTBs to stop the betting on online sabong,” said the Philracom’s legal counsel Atty. Pilita Venturanza. “However, if such a case were really filed, it would be a waste of precious time for both the Supreme Court and Philracom. In layman’s terms, mandamus is a legal remedy to compel a government agency to do some specific act which the said agency is obliged to do under the law.”In the petition by the LEPI to the Supreme Court, it said that the Philracom as a regulatory body has “all the powers to stop online cockfighting in the OTBs.” The Philracom, however, is dumbfounded as it is being forced to perform a function it has no business doing. “PD 420 (as amended by PD 1095), the very law that created the Philracom has expressly excluded from its jurisdiction functions that are related to the supervision and regulation of betting in horse-racing and has conferred the same to the Games and Amusements Board,” Venturanza said.“How can the court compel Philracom to perform an act that the law has expressly excluded from its functions and jurisdiction?” Venturanza asked.The Philracom legal counsel added that jurisdiction is conferred by law.“If the news report is true, it is bewildering that LEPI was able to submit a 19-page petition with the Supreme Court overlooking that most basic and elementary requirement,” said Venturanza.Philracom executive director Andrew Buencamino, concurred, adding that the LEPI should have done due diligence first before hastily filing a half-baked petition.“If they just did their assignment, they will find out that online betting, especially that of cockfighting does not fall under the Philracom, but that of the Games and Amusements Board,” said Buencamino. “Either this, or they are doing this for some other reason we don’t know of.”The Philracom, however, initiated a multi-sectoral meeting on the issue of online cockfighting on Sept. 29, together with GAB, considering its effect on horse-racing. The parties were given the opportunity to present their respective positions and the recommendations of the different sectors were then endorsed by the Philracom to the appropriate government agencies.In a letter to Manila Jockey Club Inc.’s Jose Ramon Magboo, Metro Manila Turf’s Wilbert Adriano and Antonio Alcasid of the Philippine Racing Club last Jan. 3, Buencamino even informed the racing managers of the measures being undertaken by the GAB to address the issues relating to the operation of a group of cockfighters, the Manila Cockers Club in OTBs.In the same letter, Dr. Buencamino stated that GAB granted MCCI authority to live-stream/broadcast its cockfights on the condition that, among others, MCCI shall not conduct any betting over live-streamed cockfighting events in cockpits and off-cockpit betting stations outside of Carmona, Cavite unless such are expressly authorized by the local government where they are located, in accordance with the Local Government Code and other applicable laws.