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Ex-PCSO chiefs charged with graft over lotto deal

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 05:30 AM July 28, 2016

An anticorruption group asked the government prosecutor Wednesday to indict former and incumbent officials of the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for alleged graft over the extension of contracts for the lease of lottery terminals without public bidding.

The Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines (ATM) filed the complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman alleging irregularities in the renewal contracts awarded to Philippine Gaming and Management Corp. (PGMC) and Pacific Online Systems Corp. (POSC), in March and August 2015, respectively.

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Among those named in the complaint were PCSO chair Erineo Maliksi and his predecessor Margarita Juico.

PCSO has been leasing the equipment from the two companies for its operations, including lotto and small-town lottery, since 1995, the complaint said.

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But ATM head Leon Peralta said there was “dubious conduct and motive” in extending the lease contracts for the two companies without the benefit of a public bidding.

He said he was not aware how much the deal was worth, but alleged that the equipment contracts had already expired at least twice.

“What we’re saying is that upon expiration, the contracts should have been rebid,” he told reporters in an interview.

The technology used by PGMC and POSC were readily available to other companies, the complaint said, arguing that  others could have offered “better pricing or more advanced technologies.”

The contracts awarded to the two companies were grossly disadvantageous and  violated several provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, it said.

Maliksi had acted “in connivance and conspiracy” with members of the PCSO’s bids and awards committee, the complaint said.

Asked why Juico was included in the complaint, Peralta said: “The first renewal was still under Juico, and the next one was upon Maliksi’s assumption of office.”

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Juico resigned in May 2014, but Maliksi was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III to replace her only in April 2015.

Also named respondents were PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, assistant general manager Conrado Zabella, PCSO board members Florencio Noel, Betty Nantes, Mabel Mamba, and Francisco Joaquin III, and members of the PCSO’s bids and awards committee.

The complainant also sought the preventive suspension of Maliksi and the other sitting officials pending the Ombudsman’s investigation into the case. Subsequently, it asked for their removal from office, and disqualification from holding public office in the future.

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TAGS: Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines, Erineo Maliksi, Margarita Juico, Nation, news, Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office
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