Press Release
August 1, 2019

De Lima: Who benefited from Duterte's order to shut down PCSO gaming ops?

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called Duterte's order to shut down the operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as "abuse of power" as she pressed for a greater scrutiny into the matter to uncover who benefited from it.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, said she finds many questions relative to Duterte's directive closing down PCSO gaming operations on alleged corruption within the agency, especially who stood to benefit from it, and without naming these corrupt officials.

"Shutting down PCSO does not make sense and obviously warrants deep scrutiny. Who gains from the closure of PCSO operations?," she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 567.

"Obviously, not the indigent stakeholders, nor the PCSO employees and lottery operators and staff. Are vested interests behind this abuse of power?," she added.

While Mr. Duterte ordered the resumption of lotto operations, Small-Town Lottery (STL), Keno, and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB) remain suspended pending the investigation of illegal activities and corrupt practices within the PCSO.

The lady Senator from Bicol noted that the decision to stop PCSO gaming operations based on alleged intelligence reports about corruption within the agency was a signature Duterte move undertaken without even conducting a formal investigation.

"The last time we heard President Duterte cited intel, what we got was his rubbish matrix that accused members of the opposition in a conspiracy to eject him from office," she stressed.

"Tipikal na estilong Duterte itong nangyayari sa PCSO: walang imbestigasyon o totohanan at maayos na imbestigasyon, walang malinaw na plano, walang konsultasyon, walang direksyon, at manhid sa idudulot na epekto sa taumbayan," she added.

According to the Senator, Mr. Duterte's impulsive decision has affected the income of an estimated 1,600 employees and around 300,000 lottery operators and sales agents and the welfare of intended PCSO beneficiaries.

"Ang masaklap pa rito, hindi ang mga opisyal na tiwali ang direktang tatamaan, kundi ang mga programa at tulong na inaasahan ng mga kababayan natin sa PCSO," she said.

De Lima added that Mr. Duterte himself should own the blame for the rampant corruption within the PCSO as he was the one who appointed these people to run the agency mandated to provide aid for indigent Filipinos.

"Why should the indigent patients take the brunt of this order when President Duterte could have just sought the suspension, prosecution and jailing of erring officials?" she said.

De Lima has earlier called on Duterte and his allies to properly enforce the law against illegal gambling and stop tolerating the flourishing business of an illegal numbers game jueteng in the country.

News Latest News Feed