GenSan officials, police in tug-of-war over STL

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GENERAL Santos City local officials are filing administrative charges against their chief of police for refusing to enforce the city council directive to close the operation of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)-backed Small Town Lottery (STL) in the city.

The Gensan city council renewed its call to stop STL operations in the city noting that its franchise holder, Trento Gaming Corp., has not secured the authority to operate from the local government, according to Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., chairman of the committee on games and amusement.

“All STL outlets in Gensan should be closed immediately because they have been operating without authority from the local government thus, they are operating illegally,” Gacal said in his privilege speech recently.

The council last month passed a resolution directing city police director, Senior Supt. Romeo Ruel Berango, “to enforce the stoppage of the operation of STL” in Gensan.


But Berango refused to implement the order saying that the STL operations is under the provisions of national laws governing the PCSO.

“It’s not that we don’t want to enforce the city council’s order, but because it’s a pending legal matter that the city council should settle first with PCSO officials,” he said.

“If there are no legal complications to stop the STL operations, then, we can enforce the directive without further ado once the city council’s order supersedes the national law,” Berango added.

He said they were told by PCSO representatives that STL’s operations are covered by national laws and its local franchisee, Trento Gaming Corp., is not required to secure permit from the city.

STL has been operating in Gensan for several months now through outlets that Trento manages.

However, Gacal said its operation is specifically in violation of Republic Act 9649 or the amended city charter, which specifically requires the PCSO (or any gaming institution) to seek approval from the city council before it can operate any type of gaming in the city.

He pointed out that even the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. followed the process before it operated the electronic or e-bingo last year.

He added that the council also wants to make sure that the city gets its 3.75 percent share from STL operations as provided for in its implementing rules and regulations and they would properly monitor how much money these STL outlets collect in their daily operations.

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