PCSO Chair Maliksi says plunder complaint has no basis
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Chair Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi on Saturday decried the plunder complaint filed against him in the Ombudsman over allegations that P15 billion was lost when he imposed a moratorium on small-town lottery (STL) operations.
In a statement, Maliksi said the plunder complaint filed by Filipino Alliance for Transparency and Empowerment (FATE) had no factual basis.
He said STL could not have lost P15 billion in revenues last year because its operations earned only P400 million annually.
“This game can easily bring in P50- to P60-billion in revenues which PCSO can use to pursue its primary mandate as government’s charity arm. I’m just wondering why the PCSO board, even before I was appointed chairman, allowed and continues to allow private STL operators to make a killing while government is left with crumbs,” Maliksi said.
Maliksi said he imposed a moratorium following a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) report on procedural lapses on the STL, alleged to be a front for illegal gambling.
Maliksi said he would rather transfer the STL operations to the PCSO instead of the private operators.
“Rather than curb ‘jueteng,’ STL became a legitimate cover for the illegal numbers game. That’s why STL, in the hands of private operators, will never bring in its envisioned revenues,” Maliksi said.
In the complaint filed by Jennifer Castro of FATE, Maliksi issued a moratorium on STL operations without the approval of the PCSO board, which included General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II.
The complainant said Maliksi should be liable for plunder because the PCSO suffered at least P15 billion in losses because of the moratorium on the operations and the approval of applications which was imposed for two months starting June 2015.
The complainant said Maliksi caused undue injury to government because the P15 billion in losses could have been used to fund PCSO projects for the indigents.
“Complainant firmly argues that all the elements of plunder … have been committed by respondent and that the issuance of said moratorium is highly suspicious that it can even be perceived to benefit a certain group who would want to replace the STL operations with a new scheme of game,” the complaint read.
Earlier, the Inquirer quoted Maliksi as saying that he had asked the agency to investigate STL operations following reports that some of its operators were using their licenses to conduct jueteng and not declaring actual sales to the PCSO.
In 2006, the PCSO started an improved STL to stamp out jueteng. Both involved betting on two-number combinations.
Maliksi, meanwhile, has also been sued before the Ombudsman for allegedly using his position to give charity funds to his driver. He has denied the allegation.
Rojas has also been charged by FATE with plunder over the nonremittance of the 10 percent documentary stamp tax on STL operations that amounted to P2.9 billion from 2006 to 2015.
Rojas and the PCSO board were also sued with a separate plunder complaint for defrauding the government of at least P50 billion in undeclared sales from the STL because of the illegal use of “papelitos.” RC
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