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Sotto: Senate probe on PCSO to continue despite lifting of Lotto ban

/ 06:31 PM July 31, 2019
senate president vicente tito sotto III

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III. INQUIRER file photo / EDWIN BACASMAS

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday said the Senate probe on the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will continue despite the lifting of the suspension of lotto operations. 

While the suspension of lotto operations had been lifted, Sotto said it was still important to look into the PCSO charter. 

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“Mabuti na rin para mapag-aralan ng mabuti yung charter ng PCSO. Baka kailangan bigyan sila ng mas matapang na powers or baka kailangan baguhin ang powers. Mas mabuti ring i-review na natin,” Sotto told reporters. 

The Senate blue ribbon committee on Tuesday pushed to conduct an investigation into the alleged “massive corruption” within PCSO. 

Blue ribbon chair Senator Richard Gordon said the inquiry may be held late next week. 

“Ang iimbestigahan natin, why the President stopped them? Is it because there’s actual corruption? Is it because there really is more money going to the illegal rather than the legal?” Gordon said. 

READ: Senate blue ribbon to probe alleged corruption at PCSO

Sotto said the main problem lies within the small-town lottery (STL) operations, adding that the lotto operation “has no issue at all.”

“We’re expecting it because of all the events being handled by PCSO or games, if you may call it that, it is the lotto that has no issue at all. Malinaw ‘yung income, prizes kung saan saan napupunta. Malinaw ‘yun eh so ‘yun ang pinaka walang problema,” Sotto said. 

“Talagang malaki problema dun sa mga may hawak ng franchise nung mga STL, yung mga ganun. Andudun ang problema na nakikita natin so we were expecting that the lotto will be exempted from the suspension,” he added.

Sotto said STL operations, as well as other PCSO games, must be scrutinized.

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“Kailangan i-scrutinize mabuti. Kung gusto ng gobyerno ituloy pa rin yung STL at yung iba pang mga games of chance ng PCSO, i-scrutinize na lang ng mabuti. Higpitan ang pagbibigay ng franchise, higpitan yung mga ika nga eh nakakakuha ng permit or franchise sa kanila. Pati yung mga bentahan ng franchise, paglilipat ng franchise, higpitan din dapat yun,” Sotto said. 

The alleged corruption within the agency had pushed Duterte to suspend all gaming operations of PCSO. 

READ: Duterte stops all PCSO gaming activities including lotto, STL

The suspension of lotto operations was lifted Tuesday night, but PCSO’s other games such as STL and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB) are still suspended. /je

READ: BREAK: Suspension of Lotto operations lifted – Panelo

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