• Gambling lords seeking lawmakers’ help to stop STL

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    THREATENED by the expansion of Small Time Lottery operation of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), illegal gambling operators are allegedly trying to get the support of some lawmakers to stop the operation of the STL.

    The PCSO has expanded the operation of the STL in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s all-out war against illegal gambling in the country.

    There are 56 authorized agent corporations (AACs) since PCSO expanded the STL last January and the office is evaluating 35 new agent corporations that if approved could help PCSO exceed its expected revenue of P27 billion this year in STL operation alone.

    Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz of the PCSO said since the STL is already in placed nationwide, all existing numbers games in the country are considered illegal, including the operation of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation (MVGC) of Charlie “Atong” Ang, a gambling operator.

    MVGC is reportedly involved in illegal numbers games operation using its jai-alai game as front.

    Unconfirmed report noted that big-time gambling personalities, including Ang, are asking some members of Congress to declare the STL illegal in order for them to continue the lottery’s operation.

    There were reports that Ang allegedly threatened to reveal names of lawmakers providing protection to illegal gambling operation if they would not act against the STL.

    Ang in a news conference last week accused Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aquirre 2nd and other government officials of plotting to eliminate him to stop his virtual jai-alai operation.

    But Aguirre dismissed Ang’s claims as mere fabrication and could be part of a demolition job in conspiracy with destabilizers of the Duterte administration.

    Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th also last week said he is planning to file a resolution calling for a Senate investigation of the alleged threat on Ang’s life.

    But the PCSO and its officials, Corpuz said, would remain focus on their objective to generate more revenues through the expansion of STL to ensure that more funds will be available for various government health projects and programs of the agency.

    The office 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.

    JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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