SC approves PCSO’s P10.9-B online lottery project
The Supreme Court has allowed the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to proceed with it’s P10.9-billion online lottery project.
“Premises considered, the petition is granted. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office may proceed with the bidding process for the Nationwide Online Lottery System for Luzon (NOLS),” the 20-page decision written by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen stated.
The high court lifted the writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) issued by the Makati Court against the bidding process for the nationwide online lottery system in Luzon.
It said the lower court erred in issuing the injunction in favor of private contractor Philippine Gaming Management Corporation (PGMC).
“This Court finds that the Regional Trial Court committed grave abuse of discretion in granting respondent Philippine Gaming Management Corporation application for injunctive relief. A Writ of Preliminary Injunction is issued to ‘prevent threatened or continuous irremediable injury to some of the parties before their claims can be thoroughly studied and adjudicated,” the high court said.
The SC also said that PGMC no longer has an exclusive right to continue operating the online lottery system after its Equipment Lease Agreement with PCSO ended on August 21, 2018.
“After the expiration of the Supplemental and Status Quo Agreement, it can no longer claim any alleged right to exclusively provide online lottery equipment in Luzon,” the high court said.
It further held that PGMC has “no irreparable injury to suffer” from the public bidding following the agreement’s expiration.
Records showed that PCSO opened the supply and delivery of its NOLS for the first time for public bidding in 2017, and 17 bidders had participated.
But the Makati RTC, through Judge Maximo De Leon, granted the injunctio sought by PGMC against the bidding for the five-year lease of NOLS with an approved budget of P10.906 billion.
Last February, the International Chamber of Commerce-International Court of Arbitration rendered a ruling favorable to PCSO. The ruling declared that PGMC does not have an exclusive contractual right to supply the online lottery system for Luzon.
The PCSO said NOLS has a lower rate compared with the existing lottery systems, and it plans to implement the system nationwide.
PGMC, which is owned by Malaysian firm Berjaya, had operated the NOLS in Luzon. Pacific Online System Corp., on the other hand, handled the NOLS in Visayas and Mindanao, but the contracts also expired last July 31.
NOLS, which has only one system that can validate all tickets bought from all over the country, will have added security features. /ee
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