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More PCSO officials face graft raps

/ 12:00 AM October 25, 2016

An anticorruption group has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to indict more executives of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) over new accusations of negligence that led to a drop in revenues of the state-run gaming agency.

Anti-Trapo Movement, led by founding chair Leon Peralta, submitted on Monday a 62-page amended complaint containing additional grounds and impleading more PCSO officials in the cases of graft, unethical conduct and violation of procurement rules filed three months ago in July.

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The filing of the amended complaint came as Peralta called for a “revamp” of the PCSO leadership in order to address the decline in its revenue.

“Sabi nga kung sila’y dating sa tuwid na daan at bumagsak ang revenue, tignan naman natin ang… sinasabi nga na daan ni Duterte para sa tunay na pagbabago (If revenues dropped under the straight path of the previous administration, it’s time to take a look at Duterte’s path for real change),” Peralta told reporters, citing the slogans of the Aquino and Duterte administrations.

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The amended complaint accuses PCSO officials of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for causing undue injury to the government by failing to strictly monitor and regulate the small-town lottery (STL).

ATM said the PCSO had “full and conscious knowledge since 2010” that the STL was only being used as a front for the illegal numbers game jueteng, causing losses of as much as P30 billion.

This alleged negligence resulted in “considerable revenue losses to the government and significant decrease in the agency’s capacity to provide more medical assistance to the needy,” the complaint read.

The group also denounced the PCSO for failing to stem the decline in lotto sales from 2013 to 2015 supposedly due to the implementation of a new price-per-bet and prize structure. ATM also noted “massive losses” in the PCSO’s Keno games, citing the Commission on Audit’s 2015 annual audit report.

Besides graft, the PCSO officials were accused of violating Section 4(a) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees by “breaking their commitment to public interest” and allowing the wastage of public funds and revenues.

Already named respondents in July were the following former PCSO officials: Chair Margarita Juico and her successor Erineo Maliksi; General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II; board members Florencio Noel, Betty Nantes, Mabel Mamba and Francisco Joaquin III, and bids and awards committee members. Another respondent, assistant general manager Conrado Zabella, is still at his position.

New officials impleaded only on Monday were PCSO legal department manager Anna Liza Inciong, gaming technology department manager Arnel Casas, product and standard development department manager Roger Ramirez, and John and Jane Does.

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TAGS: Anti-Trapo Movement, Graft and Corruption, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine news update, Small Town Lottery
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