The aggressive implementation of the expanded Small Town Lottery (STL) struck hard against illegal numbers game such as jueteng, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan said Tuesday.
Balutan said this amid a demolition job by former jueteng bagman and whistleblower Sandra Cam and gambling operator Charlie “Atong” Ang against the government-sanctioned lottery game.
“We have achieved a record-high STL revenue of up to P18 billion this year, from just more than P4 billion a year. Our STL is a potent source of income to finance the Duterte government’s free medical services to Filipinos specially the indigents,” Balutan said.
He claimed Ang and Cam, who was recently appointed to the PCSO board, wanted to destroy STL in particular and the PCSO in general.
Ang and Cam were “known figures in the world of illegal numbers games” the PCSO said.
Cam was in a tussle with Balutan and PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz over what she claimed was lavish spending in the agency’s Christmas celebration.
Cam, citing an unofficial document, insisted that the PCSO spent P9.5 million. But Balutan and Corpuz said only about P6 million was spent.
“If her bid for a congressional investigation succeeds, we will prove her wrong. She will be embarrassed. We are willing to face that investigation,” Balutan said.
Balutan claimed Cam wanted to become chairman or general manager of PCSO so Ang would have a hand in manipulating the systems of the lottery games.
He said Cam had accompanied Ang to him and to the office of Corpuz shortly after they assumed their positions.
The jueteng whistleblower and the gambling operator, Balutan said, offered to operate STL nationwide in exchange for P200 million in monthly remittances.
The offer was promptly rejected, Balutan said.
At present, the PCSO is earning up to P2 billion a month from STL with 84 of the 92 approved Authorized Agent Corporations (AACs) already operational.
Cam and Ang even dropped the names of the President and his Special Assistant Bong Go who supposedly sent them to Balutan and Corpuz to discuss how the STL should be operated.
But in one of her radio interviews Tuesday, Cam flip-flopped and reportedly denied she and Ang went to Balutan and Corpuz.
Balutan and Corpuz laughed off Cam’s denial.
“We have photos to prove they came to us offering a deal which we promptly rejected,” Balutan said.
Balutan said STL was created as an instrument to eradicate illegal gambling and over a year the lottery was aggressively killing jueteng, masiao, swertres and other forms of illegal numbers game.
“Maybe this week or next week to be sure, we will be reporting to the President and to the Filipino people the exact amount of our 2017 STL revenues. What we have for now is from January to November in the amount of P13,946,261,327.08,” Balutan said.
He said the STL was a big blow against jueteng, as the latter used to lead to an estimated P2.37 billion a month in collections.
“This jueteng pays no taxes to the government. It’s all money in the pockets of gambling lords like Atong Ang and their protectors,” he said.
“With STL and other lottery games of PCSO like Lotto, Keno and Sweepstakes, the PCSO pays taxes. From January to November this year, we paid taxes of [P7 billion],” Balutan said.
He added that 30 percent of the STL and other lottery revenues automatically goes to the PCSO charity fund to finance free dialysis and chemo treatments, hospital bills, free medicines, among others, of patients, especially indigents.
From January to November, the PCSO has registered 356,520 beneficiaries, compared with 269,312 beneficiaries in the same period of 2016, in its Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP).
The agency has already spent a total amount of P7 billion to help indigent patients.