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10 PCSO execs tagged in STL fiasco

Malacañang on Thursday said at least 10 officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office will be named by President Rodrigo Duterte as being involved in corruption.

This developed as Senator Panfilo Lacson said retired police and military officials who got Small Town Lottery franchises allegedly do not remit shares from their collections to the PCSO.

“That is all that the President said. He did not elaborate on that. Let’s just wait for the announcement of the President,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Lacson, during yesterday’s breakfast meeting at the Senate, said former military and police officials used dummies to conceal their identities.

“They were placed under the names of dummies, but they were behind them [franchises],” Lacson said.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission says its lifestyle check on PCSO officials will include the board of directors.

PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said they will not spare anyone―even the friends of the President.

Lacson said although the retired officers knew the regulations of the illegal numbers game jueteng, they did not use it to help the government and the PCSO.

“The former retired police officers knew the jueteng operations, so they should have used what they knew to help the government and the PCSO,” Lacson said.

“But instead of making the right remittance, they did not remit. And the new franchise holders owned by retired [officers], they did not remit.”

President Duterte recently ordered the suspension of all PCSO-operated gaming activities like Lotto, STL, Peryahan ng Bayan, and Keno amid allegations of “massive corruption.”

Four days later, however, Duterte already lifted his closure order but only for the Lotto game.

Senator Leila de Lima, a former justice secretary, said she finds many questions relative to Duterte’s directive closing down PCSO gaming operations.

“Shutting down PCSO does not make sense and obviously warrants deep scrutiny. Who gains from the closure of PCSO operations?” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 567.

“Obviously, not the indigent stakeholders nor the PCSO employees and lottery operators and staff. Are vested interests behind this abuse of power?” she said.

While Duterte ordered the resumption of lotto operations, Small-Town Lottery, Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan remain suspended pending the investigation of illegal activities and corrupt practices within the PCSO.

De Lima said the decision to stop PCSO gaming operations based on alleged intelligence reports about corruption within the agency was a signature Duterte move undertaken without even conducting a formal investigation.

“The last time we heard President Duterte cite intel, what we got was his rubbish matrix that accused members of the opposition in a conspiracy to eject him from office,” she said.

According to De Lima, Duterte’s decision has affected the income of an estimated 1,600 employees and around 300,000 lottery operators and sales agents and the welfare of intended PCSO beneficiaries.

She said Duterte himself should own the blame for the rampant corruption within the PCSO as he was the one who appointed these people to run the agency.

“Why should the indigent patients take the brunt of this order when President Duterte could have just sought the suspension, prosecution, and jailing of erring officials?” De Lima said.

READ: Lotto suspension lifted; STL, Keno still in limbo

READ: SC goes after judges linked to PCSO mess

Topics: Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office , Rodrigo Duterte , corruption , Panfilo Lacson , Salvador Panelo
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