Lotto should've been spared from gaming ban: Lacson

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2019 04:10 PM | Updated as of Jul 29 2019 04:46 PM

MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson said President Rodrigo Duterte should have spared lotto from the ban all the gaming schemes of the state-run lottery agency.

Lacson said lotto operations should have been spared "since there are no reports of revenue cheating as far as lotto operations are concerned because they are computerized and automated and therefore closely monitored."

Duterte earlier ordered the gaming ban as he ordered an investigation into alleged corruption at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The Palace said the President would soon identify persons involved in the alleged anomalies.

He said the case was different from Small Town Lottery (STL), "where PCSO, for millions of reasons, has consistently resisted to make it more transparent and foolproof."

Lacson, a former police chief, said the illegal numbers game "jueteng" had piggybacked on STL operations, earning as much as P73 billion a year in Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Regions 1 to 5.

Sen. Grace Poe said alleged corruption in the PCSO must be uncovered swiftly since many indigent Filipinos rely on it for medical subsidies.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian suggested that PCSO gaming operations be privatized in order to shield it from corruption.

Binay said some 120,000 workers of lotto outlets nationwide were affected by the suspension of operations of gaming outlets. She asked the labor department to assist them in securing employment.

“DOLE can step up and help. May mga pamilyang binubuhay ang mga staff ng PCSO gaming outlets, at malaking bagay ang agarang tulong na maibibigay ng DOLE para maibsan ang epekto ng kanilang biglaang pagkawala ng trabaho," Binay said in a statement.

(DOLE can step up and help. Staff of PCSO gaming outlets have families to feed, and the DOLE can help them cope with the job loss.)

Sen. Nancy Binay said that suspension was a blow to those working in gaming operated by the PCSO.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Duterte’s order was “punishing ordinary people for the corruption of his officials.”

Over 21,000 lotto outlets and other PCSO gaming kiosks were shut down after President Duterte declared these as illegal.

Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo said prior to the President’s closure order last Friday, the chief executive first met with its newly-installed general manager, Royina Garma.

-- with Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News