We stop STL when the President tells us to stop – PCSO

By on February 15, 2017

"We respect the opinion of House Speaker Alvarez, but we request that he reconsider whose side he's on: the Filipino people who will benefit from the government's increase in charity services and the opportunity to provide employment, or the illegal gambling operators and those who coddle them. " Balutan said. (Photo: Alexander F Balutan/ Facebook)
“We respect the opinion of House Speaker Alvarez, but we request that he reconsider whose side he’s on: the Filipino people who will benefit from the government’s increase in charity services and the opportunity to provide employment, or the illegal gambling operators and those who coddle them. ” Balutan said. (Photo: Alexander F Balutan/ Facebook)

MANILA –The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Wednesday said it will continue to implement Small Town Lottery (STL) despite the allegation of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that it is illegal.

PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said they respected the opinion of the House Speaker but stressed that the PCSO was under the office of the President and was following the request of the President to end illegal gambling operations in all its forms.

“We respect the opinion of House Speaker Alvarez, but we request that he reconsider whose side he’s on: the Filipino people who will benefit from the government’s increase in charity services and the opportunity to provide employment, or the illegal gambling operators and those who coddle them. ” Balutan said. “Stopping STL only favors gambling lords and their ilk,” he added.

Balutan clarified that the PCSO took guidance and direction from the President who had been clear from the very beginning of his intention to eliminate illegal gambling operations and curb corruption.

And true to his word, last Feb 2, the President signed Executive Order (EO) No.13, which strengthens state-run agencies like PCSO and its promotion of STL as the only legal numbers game in the country.

Balutan explains that PCSO’s enabling law (RA 1169, as amended) will prevail in so far as state-run lotteries are concerned. This law is among those which EO 13 aims to implement and protect. EO 13 is an executive issuance to honor PCSO’s charter mandate.

During the congressional hearing on Monday, when asked about the ramifications if the STL operations would be suspended, PCSO Chairman Jorge Corpuz pointed to the loss of revenue. He mentioned that through the expanded STL, the PCSO has been able to collect in the last quarter of 2016, Php 6.46 billion.

A far cry from the Php 4.7 billion collected for the whole of 2015. The government is poised to lose almost Php 28 billion in revenue if STL operations come to a halt. The loss translates to billions of funds for the government’s charity services and free medicines for the poor.

But the expanded STL not only contributes to an increase in government revenue, but is also instrumental in providing employment or an alternative livelihood to people who need it most. As of 2016, PCSO records show that the 18 AACs have provided jobs for almost 173,000 former kubradors and kabos. If the committee pursues to cease the operation of the 56 AACs, it would mean denying .5 million Filipinos to secure employment.

Balutan shares that the loss of employment is also a concern of committee member Congressman Danilo Suarez. According to Balutan, Suarez expressed serious concern for about 19,000 kabos and kubradors that will lose jobs in his native Quezon once STL stops operation. Balutan addsthat Suarez is trying to reach Speaker Alvarez to reconsider his decision.

“I told him to help us since this might boomerang because thousands will be adversely affected, particularly the poor, whose welfare the government seeks to uplift and address.

On Monday, in response to EO 13, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa acknowledged in his statement the effort of the PCSO in successfully establishing the government-operated STL in different parts of the country as an effective way tokeep illegal gambling operators out of the country.

PNP Chief Dela Rosa also acknowledged in his statement that illegal gambling, if left unchecked, breeds corruption and other ills in society.

  • Mayniladlad

    I hope that Pres. Duterte will doing something about the corrupts in the Palace. On Corruption in the Palace

    If they are true to their publicly embraced campaign pledge of ZERO TOLERANCE to Corruption, President Duterte and Cabinet Secretary Evasco must act post-haste to cleanse Malacañang of the misfits who have been able to inadvertently slip in when they came to office.

    The recent Ombudsman complaint of Anti-Trapo Movement has identified the more prominent of these misfits and reprobates as Executive Director Gloria Jumamil-Mercado; Executive Assistant Aaron James Veloso; Project Management Office Director Lt. Colonel Ranulfo Sevilla and Assistant Cabinet secretary and chief of staff Isabelita Moncano-Somozo.

    The evidence proffered by ATM against this bunch is really damning. For instance, Gloria Jumamil-Mercado has been charged with falsification of public documents and usurpation of authority or official functions. She is said to have gone on several unauthorized foreign trips under the guise of official business, a practice that is done by abusive government officials and bureaucrats. Some official travels even had as purpose, “security-related official matters,” although this is not even in her line of work, responsibilities, profession, competence or expertise.

    During her stint with the Development Academy of the Philippines, Mercado is said to have actively participated in irregularities as a member of the top leadership of that office. DAP’s management had been roundly censured by COA for excessive and unauthorized expenditures and its penchant for unnecessary luxury in its conduct of seminars and conferences. It is obvious that Mercado has brought to Malacañang her sense of entitlement and her fondness for official perks and luxury.

    On the other hand, Executive Assistant Veloso can be faulted with having an extreme sense of self-aggrandizement when he appointed himself as the acting Cabinet Secretary from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30 last year when Secretary Evasco was on an official trip to Vietnam. You have to hand it to the guy, he really aims for the stars.

    Lt. Colonel Sevilla is now hiding in his new safe haven in Malacañang while his fellow soldiers are humping out in the boondocks chasing Abu-Sayyaf, BIFF, ISIS and Maute Group Terrorists. The guy is obviously guilty of abandonment of duty. He should resign his military commission if he fancies the relative safety of a cozy and perk-filled civilian job.

    As Chief of Staff, Isabelita Moncano-Somozo is the necessary co-conspirator to effect irregularities in that Malacañang office. Guess what, she co-conspired with them.

    Duterte and Evasco must act swiftly to nip these irregularities right in the bud. Let’s be mindful – and warned – of the truism “A few rotten tomatoes will spoil the whole bunch.”

    In the name of transparency and good governance, heads must roll.,

  • Chen Bautista

    Corruption in PAGCOR must be stopped. Newly issued Executive Order # 13 is “unlucky” for PAGCOR

    PRRD recently issued EO 13 to finally bring order to the chaos wreaked by PAGCOR on the Online Gaming industry. It appears that PAGCOR is the biggest loser in this new Malacanang policy on gaming for the following reasons:

    1. EO 13 does not expressly authorize PAGCOR to issue online gaming licenses. It is noteworthy that in the “whereas” clause on page 1, PAGCOR’s charter and scope of its authority is cited. It clearly does not include online gambling, and the limitations of its franchise wherein gambling activities must be strictly within the Philippine territory. Gambling activities in online gambling are done all over the world with the Philippine hub only serving as the “call center” coordinating and facilitating these games.

    In short, the preambular clauses (the ‘Whereas’ clauses) clearly define the charter limits of each authority held by PAGCOR, Cagayan Economic Zone (CEZA), Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) and Authority of the Freeport of Bataan (AFAB), and the EO purports to clarify the extent of authority of these gambling operators.

    That Online Gambling is not in PAGCOR’s authority is clear in the SC decision in G.R. No. 144463, Jaworski vs PAGCOR and SAGE, where it stated: “A legislative franchise is a special privilege granted by the state to corporations. It is a privilege of public concern which cannot be exercised at will and pleasure, but should be reserved for public control and administration, either by the government directly, or by public agents, under such conditions and regulations as the government may impose on them in the interest of the public. It is Congress that prescribes the conditions on which the grant of the franchise may be made. Thus the manner of granting the franchise, to whom it may be granted, the mode of conducting the business, the charter and the quality of the service to be rendered and the duty of the grantee to the public in exercising the franchise are almost always defined in clear and unequivocal language.”

    Plainly, Online gambling is not provided in the PAGCOR gambling franchise “in clear and unequivocal language.”

    SAGE had earlier tried to operate an internet0based gambling operation under license from PAGCOR. However, the SC censured PAGCOR saying, “PAGCOR cannot delegate its power in view of the legal principle of delegata potestas delegare non potest, inasmuch as there is nothing in the charter to show that it has been expressly authorized to do so.”

    The SC concluded, “By the same token, SAGE has to obtain a separate legislative franchise and not ride on PAGCOR’s franchise if it were to legally operate on-line Internet gambling.”

    In another case, G.R. No. 138298, Del Mar vs PAGCOR, the SC clarified: “Then and now, the intention was merely to grant PAGCOR a franchise to operate gambling casinos, no more, no less.” Clearly Online Gambling was never contemplated in PD 1869 (the PAGCOR charter), nor included in 2007 when Congress amended this PAGCOR charter.,

  • bernard diaz

    Mayrong mali sa PCSO STL. President Duterte’s recently issued Executive Order #13, which lays down the underpinning policy for his War against Illegal Gambling, will serve to highlight the limitations of PCSO’s charter.

    Republic Act 1169, which gave life to PCSO and was later amended by Batas Pambansa 42 and Presidential Decree 1157, only allows PCSO “To hold and conduct charity sweepstakes races, lotteries, and other similar activities, in such frequency and manner, as shall be determined, and subject to such rules and regulations as shall be promulgated by the Board of Directors.” PCSO must do all these activities by itself. The law never allows it to share its franchise or get other entities to perform its operations. While it may be allowed to hire agency entities as outlets and selling agents – in much the same way as it presently does with the lotto and sweepstakes outlets and agents – it must do so while closely monitoring and supervising these agents, who are themselves limited to merely suppliers of equipment or sellers of tickets, and not operators. Per its charter, the heart of the gambling operations, including the scheduled draws and lotteries as well as the payouts, must be done solely and exclusively by PCSO.

    EO 13 defines illegal gambling as the conduct of game schemes even “when such game scheme is not authorized or licensed by the government agency duly empowered by law or its charter to license or authorize the conduct of such games, or is conducted in a manner that violates the terms and conditions duly prescribed by the said government agency.” By this definition, all STL is illegal gambling simply because PCSO is not empowered to extend such a franchise. And STL’s patent illegality has been further complicated with its use as a ‘cover’ by illegal numbers games (read Jueteng) syndicates who have hijacked it since its inception.

    PCSO Legal Manager Atty. Anna Inciong is totally wrong about comparing STL AACs to what she refers to as “Lotto Operators”. It must be pointed that PGMC and POSC are not, and will never be, “Lotto Operators”. They do not operate the Lotto Games and are merely “service providers” to supply the equipment, which will support and facilitate the sales of Lotto tickets. On the other hand, by the very nature and mode of their required activities, STL AACs have become operators and are effectively given franchises. By making this false and misleading comparison, Atty. Inciong is either completely confused or deliberately devious.,