DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 July) – Police padlocked a total of 4,249 gaming outlets of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in Davao Region, following the closure order of President Rodrigo R. Duterte due to alleged massive corruption.
Police Regional Director BGen Marcelo C. Morales said in a report released to the media that 155 lotto, 4,091 small-town lottery outlets and 3 Keno outlets had been closed since Saturday.
Some outlet owners had volunteered to close shop, he said.
He said they had so far received no reports of illegal gambling but vowed they will “continue to monitor the closure of all gaming establishments and to continue to launch massive campaign against illegal gambling.”
Morales also encouraged the public to report any illegal gambling activities to the authorities.
“If they will continue to operate, surely, they will face the consequences under existing laws. We also encourage the public to report to us any suspected illegal gambling activity in your communities,” he said in a report.
Duterte closed all forms of PCSO-authorized gaming activities, saying he could not allow massive corruption to perpetuate in the agency, and ordered the police and military to lead the closure of the gaming outlets.
“I have to do it. I will not honor transactions that are clearly on the side of, you know, scheming people, the Republic of the Philippines, of the money due it. Puro dayaan lahat at ‘yung mga kontrata ay parang (It’s all cheating and the contracts seem to be) crafted in favor of corruption and to favor other corporations and people. I will not allow it,” he said.
He said he would not honor orders from any court to prevent the executive from conducting a massive probe into the alleged corruption in the PCSO.
According to its website, the PCSO is “the principal government agency for raising and providing funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character.”
It “holds and conducts charity sweepstakes, races, and lotteries and engages in health and welfare-related investments, projects, and activities to provide for permanent and continuing sources of funds for its programs. It also undertakes other activities to enhance and expand such fund-generating operations as well as strengthen the agency’s fund-management capabilities.”
If he could have his way, the President said he wants to get rid of all the numbers games of the PCSO.
“If I were to give my sentiment about gambling, mas gusto ko mawala ito lahat (I want all of it gone),” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)