THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will not hesitate to suspend or even cancel the license of all authorized operators of the Small Town Lottery (STL) that will be found violating the charity institution’s regulations.
This was the assurance given by officials of the PCSO to members of the Senate games and amusement committee during the resumption of the inquiry on the controversies currently surrounding the state-run charity agency.
“We are not tolerating that, and we will go after them,” PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan told the committee, referring to the erring PCSO Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC).
Balutan gave the assurance after resource persons from the Philippine National Police (PNP) informed the committee during the inquiry that some ACCs were allegedly using STL as a front for them to continue with the operations of the illegal numbers game.
Chief Supt. Emmanuel Luis Licup of the PNP Regional Office 4 and Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino admitted to the committee that individuals caught in the act of collecting bets for “jueteng” would use their STL identification cards for them to avoid arrest.
Camarines Sur Rep. L-Ray Villafuerte, who was also present in the hearing, cited the case of an ACC handling the STL operation in the entire province that managed to continue its illegal numbers game operation using the PCSO-given authority.
Villafuerte was referring to Evenchance gaming firm which, despite having committed a number of violations, including allowing minors to place and collect bets outside authorized stations, was still allowed to operate by the PCSO.
The lawmaker from Camarines Sur even claimed that he informed the PCSO about the case of Evenchance as early as 2017 but no sanctions were issued.
“I would suggest a general review of all AAC and find out, in consultation with the police, if they committed violations,” Lacson told the PCSO officials.
Balutan and other members of the PCSO board assured the Senate panel that they would immediately tackle the issue during their scheduled board meeting on January 31, and come up with actions against those that would be found violating the STL implementing rules and regulations. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA