Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Friday maintained that the expansion of the Small Town Lottery (STL) nationwide is aboveboard, contrary to the claim of an anti-corruption group that the move was illegal.
Jose Jorge Corpuz, PCSO chairman, said the agency expanded STL operations to eradicate all illegal numbers games by providing a legal alternative that would also generate more funds for the government.
The Anti-Trapo Movement (ATM) headed by Leon Estrella Peralta filed a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman accusing Corpuz and the members of the PCSO board of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Revised
Penal Code provision against monopolies and restraint of trade.
The complainant claimed that the real intent in expanding the STL operation was not to raise the revenue of STL and fight illegal gambling but to favor and give undue advantage to the 18 existing STL operators.
“In behalf of the PCSO board, we vehemently deny the allegation of ATM and Mr. De Leon that PCSO favored and gave undue advantage to existing 18 Authorized Agent Corporations (CAA),” Corpuz said in an statement.
He noted that when they opened the application for the nationwide operation of STL, the existing areas of operation of the 18 existing STIL operators were also opened.
Corpuz said the 18 AACs were required to file their respective applications and failure to do so would result in the termination of their authority to operate.
“These requirements were clearly stated in the PCSO’s notice to public and published in PCSO website and various daily papers,” he added.
The PCSO is evaluating 224 STL applicants for the expansion of the operation of the legal numbers game of the government-run charity agency.
The new system will legalize the existing illegal numbers game in every region, like jueteng in Luzon and masiao and swertres in the Visayas and Mindanao.