MALACAÑANG on Friday assured the public that President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to resume operations of Small Town Lottery (STL) would not result in more corruption.
Speaking to reporters, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said that the new conditions set by the government on STL operations would be “onerous” for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“The conditions will prevent the corruption, kasi you have to sign, tsaka may (there is) forfeiture, andaming provisions e mahihirapan na sila (and there are many provisions. They will have a hard time [to corrupt]),” Panelo said in a media interview.
“What is important is to me, from my point of view, the conditions are very onerous on the part of the STL and there is parang mahirapan na silang magkaroon ng (it would be difficult for them to have an) excuse not to remit or to swindle the government with respect to the shares,” he added.
On Thursday, Duterte ordered the lifting of the suspension of the STL, as long as its agents could meet the conditions set by the government.
In a statement on Thursday, Panelo said “compliant franchise holders will have to give three months deposit,” and “those non-compliant will have to pay their arrears.”
He said Duterte ordered that there would be waiver from suits.
“There will be a waiver from suits. Franchise holders cannot sue. The effectivity will be after the publication of the implementing rules and regulations,” Panelo said.
“Any violation of any of the conditions contained in the implementing rules and regulations will mean revocation of the license to operate the STL,” he added.
In July, Duterte suspended all of PCSO’s gaming operations, due to allegations of massive corruption in the office.
This ban was eventually lifted, although only on Lotto games.
STL, Keno, and Peryahan ng Bayan remained suspended then.
Meanwhile, Panelo said he would ask the President why he allowed STL to resume pending investigation results.
He said it was PCSO chairman Royina Garma who recommended the lifting of suspension on STL operations.
“That is the proposal of chair Garma. That should be submitted to the President. The President will have to evaluate the recommendation,” Panelo said.
The latest Commission on Audit (CoA) report on the PCSO found the agency has yet to remit P8.4 billion to the government.
State auditors also called out the state lottery agency for waiving P1.43 billion in claims from STL agents.
From January to June this year, STL revenues amounted to P12.6 billion. In 2018, the STL had the second highest revenues among the PCSO-licensed games, next to Lotto. CATHERINE S. VALENTE