Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Chairman Jose Jorge Copuz on Friday separately denied having any knowledge on a supposed threat on the life of gambling operator Charlie “Atong” Ang.
Corpuz described as baseless claims made by Ang on the supposed plan to have him killed because he is a competition of the Small Town Lottery (STL) run by the PCSO.
“I categorically deny all the accusations of Atong Ang for being complete fabrications,” Aguirre said.
Corpus said he had expected such allegations to be thrown at the PCSO because of its commitment to expand the STL and eliminate illegal numbers games in the country.
He added that the PCSO would stay focused on its objective to generate more revenues through the expansion of STL to ensure that more funds will be available for the various health projects and programs of the government.
Corpus said it is very unlikely that Aguirre, as well as National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., would be behind the supposed slay plot to eliminate Ang, who is reportedly the operator of the Meridien Vista Gaming Corp. (MVGC).
The MVGC is reportedly involved in illegal numbers games operation using its jai-alai game as front.
Corpuz said selection of STL authorized agent corporations or AACs involves a stringent process to make sure that only those qualified would be allowed to operate the STL.
He made the clarification to belie Ang’s claim that STL operations are being controlled by certain personality.
“That is impossible since monitoring and control are in place within the PCSO for the STL,” Corpus said.
The PCSO assured the public that all its games are conducted in a transparent and professional manner wherein the integrity and truthfulness of every game can be expected.
The charity office said it is in full control of all its gaming operations, including the STL to generate Serbisyo, Trabaho at Laro for Filipinos nationwide.
PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan earlier said the agency is c evaluating the application of 35 new agent corporations that want to operate under the expanded STL in various areas in the country.
Balutan said the approval of 35 new AACs is expected to further boost the state-run charitable institution’s revenue collection to be used in providing medical assistance to poor Filipinos.
Ang on Thursday told reporters that he wants protection from President Rodrigo Duterte because his life is in danger.
He accused Aguirre, Esperon and members of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1982 of wanting to liquidate him to weaken virtual jai alai operations operated by MVGC of which he is general manager, in Northern Luzon.
Ang was a convicted criminal, having been sentenced by the Sandiganbayan in connection with a plunder case against then-President Joseph Estrada.
He entered into a plea bargaining agreement for a lesser offense and was charged only with corruption of public officials.
Ang said he made the announcement on the death threats against him in public so the people would know should anything happen to him.
The known gambling operator threatened that he will divulge more names in a legislative inquiry, including that of a congressman who allegedly serves as Aguirre’s “bagman.”
He said Aguirre was taking part in STL operations through his brother, Ogie Aguirre.
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents want to “neutralize” him, as supposedly revealed to him by several of the bureau’s agents.
Esperon and members of PMA Class of 1982, Ang claimed, are protectors of the STL in Northern Luzon and are demanding cuts from the operations.
“I am ready to face any kind of investigation that might be conducted, be it legislative, criminal or administrative. I am not afraid as I have nothing to hide. My conscience is clear,” Aguirre said. JOMAR CANLAS