Lacson: PCSO cheated of P50B per year from STL
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is being cheated out of an estimated P50 billion a year in its Small Town Lottery (STL) operations, according to Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.
Lacson, chair of the Senate Committee on Games and Amusement, made the claim after PCSO officials reported that the PCSO generated P6.4 billion from STL operations last year.
But Lacson said the figure appeared to be small based on empirical data, especially when “jueteng” collections reached an estimated P50 billion a year or P50 million to P65 million daily.
“Based on what I heard on the ground, consider yourself lucky if they remit to you 40 percent of their earnings,” Lacson told PCSO Chair Jose Jorge Corpuz.
“[As for] the rest, they use the ID you issued for guerrilla operations. It’s happening on the ground and the police know that,” said the senator, a former chief of the Philippine National Police.
Corpuz did not dispute Lacson’s estimate and instead said the PCSO expected revenues to double to P18.4 billion next year with the operation of 92 new authorized agent corporations (AACs).
Lacson urged the PCSO to modify its required remittance from AACs, called presumptive monthly retail receipts (PMRR), so it could get its full share from franchises and operators and limit the elbow room for guerrilla operations.
Currently, the PMRR is computed as 30 percent of the voting population multiplied by P2.50 average bet, by three draws a day and by 30 days.
“If [I were you], I would maximize, based on my own computations, and let them haggle later. Right now, these operators are not complaining because they still have big elbow room for guerrilla [operations],” Lacson said.
Lacson called the hearing on his measure, creating the Philippine Charity Office and seeking to strengthen the PCSO charter and make it more accountable.
Last month, PCSO officials blamed the PNP for its supposed lack of commitment to eliminate jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling and helped develop STL.
“I am disappointed and dismayed by their performance,” PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan had said.
“We sincerely tried to involve them in what we believe will serve the people. Instead, they have chosen to serve crime lords,” Balutan said.
Balutan, a retired Marine general, said they received reports of police officials receiving payola from gambling lords in spite of Executive Order No. 13 that President Duterte signed in February.
Instead of cracking down on jueteng, police officials are ordering their men to harass AACs, according to Happy Cool Games and Amusement Corp., the PCSO’s AAC in southern Metro Manila.
The company on Thursday accused Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde and Southern Police District Director Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario of protecting jueteng operations.
Both Albayalde and Apolinario denied the accusations, the report said.
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