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Duterte rethinks STL closure

President Duterte might reconsider lifting the suspension of small town lottery (STL) operations if it is proven free of corruption and manipulation.

“If you can assure me that there will be no corruption, maybe I will consider,” the President said during the 118th police service anniversary at Camp Crame on Friday.

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“But if I’m not satisfied and if the big guys are still there to manipulate the game, I will not allow it. I’m sorry,” he said.

Mr. Duterte had earlier ordered the suspension of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office games, including STL, Keno, Peryahan ng Bayan and the popular lotto games.

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The President has already lifted the suspension on the lotto games after investigators found no anomaly in its operations but he insisted that the government was being deprived of its share of lottery earnings.

He hinted of a plan that would “guarantee that the government will have its rightful share” in licensed gambling activities.

“Maybe I will put that agency under the Office of the President. Then the ones to award the bidding, the justice secretary, and Wendel Avisado, he’s the budget officer,” Mr. Duterte said.

“I will give it to a committee that will not be corrupted. There should be no corruption, no under-the-table deals,” he added.

He admitted that he could not just stop gambling activities because other illegal activities and even illegal drugs may take its place.

“In STL, lotto, there is already an existing organization. You create a vacuum, drugs will come in. That’s the hard part … I cannot be a humbug and say, ‘I will do it. I will kill the STL or the jueteng that goes with it,’” the President said.

He also sees nothing wrong with retired generals being granted STL franchises so long as they comply with the law and do not intimidate their competitors.

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TAGS: corruption, Keno, peryahan ng bayan, President Duterte, STL
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