MANILA - The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission said Friday that it is investigating "13 to 20" officials of the state-run lottery agency for alleged corruption.
The officials hold technical positions that give them "control over biddings, contracts, operations, computers," in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, said PACC commissioner Greco Belgica.
"Every time a person or official has that power, he also has the power to bargain and extort money from clients," he told ANC. "Almost all" of the officials under investigation are incumbent while some are retired, he said.
The PACC is "also looking at the organizational structure to see which persons have control over money operations so that we can also include them," he added.
More than 21,000 lotto outlets and other PCSO gaming kiosks were shut nationwide from July 27 to 30 after President Rodrigo Duterte declared these as illegal due to "massive corruption."
A Commission on Audit report earlier showed a combined shortfall of at least P14 billion from small town lottery operations for 2017 and 2018.
"It's possible that they (STL operators) have not been remitting or the computations are not correct," said Belgica.
Some jueteng operators may also be "using STL as legal cover", which is "is an issue that the PNP has to address," the official said.
Asked if the PCSO probe might cover lawmen who could be involved in illegal gambling, Belgica said, "It is possible. In the process of the investigation, whistleblowers sometimes come out to save themselves to reveal more information.