Duterte lifts suspension of small-town lottery operations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2019 09:26 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2019 09:43 PM

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office set the conditions for authorized small-time lottery agents that wish to resume operations. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the suspension on small-town lottery (STL) operations granted franchise holders comply with a number of conditions, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the suspension on STL operations “will be lifted by the President immediately after the publication of the implementing rules and regulations,” which could be done Monday, August 26.

But STL operators with clear violations will not be allowed to operate, Panelo said.

“Kung meron silang violation . . . will mean automatic cessation ng kanilang franchise. Hindi na sila makaka-operate,” Panelo told DZMM.

Panelo added that STL agents must sign an agreement not to file any claims or charges against the government.

“They would have to agree that they cannot sue, hindi sila magdedemanda. Ang ginagawa ng iba, katulad nu’ng 7 nagdemanda, hindi na nga nagbabayad, nagdemanda pa,” Panelo said.

In a separate statement, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Royina Marzan Garma enumerated the conditions for authorized STL agents that wish to resume operations.

1. The authorized agent corporations (AACs) must deposit with the PCSO a cash bond equivalent to 3 months of PCSO’s share in the guaranteed minimum monthly receipts (GMMRR) on top of their existing cash bonds.

2. Upon failure to timely and fully remit their receipts during the duration of their operations, the agency’s cash bond equivalent to 3 months of the PCSO’s share in the GMMRR shall be automatically forfeited in favor of PCSO without prejudice to the other remedies that may be exercised by the government.

3. Each AAC shall execute a written undertaking that it shall comply with its obligations under the agency agreement and will not institute any claims monetary or otherwise against the government and/or apply for TRO or injunction from any court to prevent government from exercising its rights and prerogatives.

4. The STL agency agreement shall automatically be terminated upon violation of conditions of their franchise and/or any of the above conditions without prejudice to the other remedies that may be exercised by the government.

Duterte on July 26 suspended the operations of all gaming schemes granted by the PCSO, citing “massive corruption” in the agency.

His order prompted authorities to shut down more than 30,000 lotto outlets and other gaming kiosks.

Lotto operations resumed on July 31 after the Palace explained that the numbers game was only dragged into corruption allegations hounding the entire PCSO.

Gaming schemes such as the Peryahan ng Bayan, small town lottery, and Keno remained suspended pending the results of an investigation, despite the initial lifting of the lotto ban.

State regulators had said that some STL operators were under-remitting to the state. The shortfall amounted to at least P4 billion from 2017 to 2018.

The PCSO reportedly ran after these parties but was met by court injunctions.