Duterte's order to close PCSO games 'too drastic, immediate': lawmaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2019 08:28 AM | Updated as of Jul 29 2019 09:03 AM

MANILA - Due process should have been observed before President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of gaming schemes of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), a lawmaker said Monday.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, a former law school dean, said the President's order was "too drastic and too immediate."

"Everybody agrees that what the President did was laudable because he’s really fighting against corruption. [But] I believe the President should have really given due process, especially with those who already have a contract," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"Probably an investigation should have been done first so that then those contracts and franchises which were found under investigation to have been a product of corruption should have been the ones cancelled."

The President gave law enforcers 24 hours starting July 27 to stop the gaming activities operated, licensed and franchised by PCSO, which he now declared as illegal.

Rodriguez, however, said police power was "not applicable in this case."

"The obligation of contracts is always protected by the constitution. It can only be set aside through due process," he said.

The lawmaker said PCSO outlet franchise owners may appeal through the courts, although the President had said he will not honor any court order.

"We still have to have our courts to be the arbiter of questions on constitutionality and executive actions," he said.

As of Sunday, police said it has closed a total of 5,187 lotto stores; 13,320 small town lottery kiosks; 2,194 Peryahan ng Bayan outlets; and 472 Keno shops.

The PCSO said it would ask Duterte to reconsider his order suspending its games.