GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 August) — The city council here renewed its calls on Tuesday for the stoppage of the “illegal” operations in the entire city of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)-backed Small Town Lottery or STL.
City Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., chair of the council’s committee on games and amusements, said all STL outlets in the city should be closed down immediately as these have been operating without proper authority from the local government.
He said the city police should enforce the stoppage of the STL and the closure of its outlets as it is considered an “illegal gambling operation.”
The council passed a resolution last month directing acting city police director, Sr. Supt. Romeo Ruel Berango, “to order the stoppage of the operation of STL” in the city.
But Berango did not heed the directive due to the pending legal issues on the matter and the issuance of official opinion from the Philippine National Police’s legal affairs division.
He said they were told by PCSO representatives that STL’s operations are covered by national laws and its authorized local franchise, Trento Gaming Corporation, is not required to secure any permit from the city.
STL has been operating in the city for several months already through outlets managed by Trento.STL
But Gacal, who is a lawyer, noted that there is “no legal issue” on the matter as the city government has not even required the STL outlets in the area to secure business permits.
He said the city’s charter, Republic Act (RA) 9649, explicitly requires the PCSO and other concerned entities to seek the city council’s concurrence before it can operate any type of gaming in the city.
He said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. followed the same process before it started the operations here last year of the electronic or e-bingo.
“That is provided for in a Republic Act, a national law, so they must comply with it,” Gacal said in a radio interview.
The official said it is “very clear that a national law is being violated and a crime is being committed.”
“Without our concurrence, they are conducting illegal gambling. So the chief of police is bound to implement the law,” he said.
Gacal clarified that the council is not against the STL but the manner that it started its operations in the city.
He added that they also want to make sure that the city will properly get its 3.75 percent share from STL operations as provided for in its implementing rules and regulations. (MindaNews)