MANILA (UPDATE)—Malacañang on Tuesday night said lotto operations can now resume following President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to lift a suspension he had ordered last week.
The new directive takes effect immediately, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told ANC, although he said gaming schemes such as Peryahan ng Bayan, small town lottery (STL) and Keno remain suspended pending the results of an investigation into allegations of "illegal activities and corrupt practices."
"Franchise holders and operators of lotto outlets may now resume with their operations," Panelo later said in a statement.
"The lifting of the suspension of lotto operations takes effect immediately."
In the ANC interview, Panelo said Duterte might have changed his mind and issued the new order instead, because "we all know lotto is machine operated, so corruption might be much lesser in that area."
In a separate statement, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the suspension was lifted, because "investigators found no anomalies in the conduct of its operation, its sanctity remained untainted and proper regulatory rules followed."
According to a Palace statement, it was upon Medialdea's advice that Duterte lifted the suspension.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Online Lotto Agents, Inc. (POLAI) thanked the President for his decision to lift the suspension, noting how the closure of lotto outlets has affected the livelihood of operators and workers.
Senator Sonny Angara said the lifting of the suspension will ensure the proper implementation of the Universal Health Care Act and other government projects.
"Wala nang panganib na magkakaaberya ang pagsasatupad ng Universal Health Care Act at iba pang mga programa ng gobyerno para sa ating mga kababayan dahil sa kakulangan ng pondo," he said in a statement.
Duterte on Friday night had ordered the suspension of operations of all gaming schemes granted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) due to "massive corruption."
More than 21,000 lotto outlets and other PCSO gaming kiosks were shut down nationwide after the President declared these as illegal.