CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Former Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio has asked the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to reject the applications of Small Town Lottery (STL) agents to run the PCSO Loterya ng Bayan (PLB) due to several violations, including non-issuance of receipts to bettors.
In a September 19 letter, Panlilio also warned PCSO Chairperson Margarita Juico that he would take legal action against her.
“You knew all along of the various and blatant violations of these STL authorized agents. Despite these, you have not stopped or canceled their [permits]. Your inaction clearly shows your being remiss of your duties, which is in violation of several administrative and criminal laws in this country,” said Panlilio.
Copies of the letter were sent to PCSO General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares and Commission on Audit Chairperson Ma. Gracia Pulido Tan. Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, also received a copy.
At least 197 corporations and cooperatives, including 21 STL agents, are seeking permits to run the PLB, a check by the Inquirer showed.
Panlilio on Sunday said some applicants were not allowed to apply for PLB operations in areas with STL operations because PCSO officials told them that these are “already reserved” for STL agents.
On top of opposing STL since 2007 because it is being used as a cover for the illegal numbers game “jueteng,” Panlilio said government is “left in the dark as to the total proceeds earned by STL authorized agents.”
Jueteng in seven regions grossed P2.575 billion monthly, according to a report that the police submitted to the Senate. STL, on the other hand, made P9.5 billion in gross receipts from February 2006 to August 2010, PCSO officials told the Senate.
The PCSO started giving out permits for STL operations in 2005 when the game was ordered revived by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Panlilio said Rojas confirmed in an Oct. 14, 2010, hearing at the Senate that the planned use of handheld terminals never materialized. These are supposed to release quadruplicate copies of receipts and the number combinations where they put their bets on.
“To date, no such receipts were being issued to bettors,” Panlilo said.
He added: “To prove this fact, I personally placed a bet to an STL cobrador [collector] in Minalin, Pampanga. I was given a piece of white paper with the numbers where I placed my bet on and the amounts of bet. This is similar to the piece of yellow paper issued by a jueteng cobrador to a friend who placed the bet in July 2009.”
According to Panlilio, the non-issuance of receipts “caused undue damage and prejudice to bettors since the actual pot money cannot be determined; to the government agencies and local government units, with respect to their shares; and to the … people, with respect to the share which should have been remitted to PCSO and the taxes due from the STL authorized agents.”
Panlilio said this deprived the public of social and other health-related services that could have been financed by earnings from STL.—Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon