Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, has reportedly ordered the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to close every one of its lottery and gaming operations amid allegations that there is ‘massive corruption’ throughout the state-owned enterprise.
According to a report, the PCSO is under the direct supervision of the Office of the President and is responsible for running a wide range of lottery, keno, scratchcard and horseracing games that benefit numerous social welfare programs.
GGRAsia reported that the immediate shutdown, which also encompasses PCSO-licensed operations being leased to private firms across the Philippines, was announced on Friday and is not due to be lifted until the National Bureau of Investigation completes an official inquiry into allegations of fraud and corruption. President Duterte declared that he had ordered the closure after discovering that the nation was being ‘cheated’ out of its rightful share of the operator’s revenues with the dishonesty extending ‘even the courts.’
But, a report from The Philippine Star newspaper detailed that the move prompted numerous firms that lease equipment and services to the PCSO to ask the controversial leader to reconsider his decision. One of these, Manila-listed Pacific Online Systems Corporation, purportedly used an official filing to declare that the ban may result in ‘negative impacts’ on the charitable fundraising sector and lead to ‘inestimable’ consequences for its workers.
Reportedly read a statement from Pacific Online Systems Corporation…
“Pacific Online [Systems Corporation] is the leasor of the online lottery system being used by PCSO for its lottery operations in Visayas and Mindanao while its subsidiary, Total Gaming Technologies Incorporated, is the equipment leasor for the PCSO’s keno game nationwide. The corporation, however, has been in constant coordination with the PCSO’s management and is fully supportive of the latter’s efforts to seek the President’s reconsideration of his decision.”
Pacific Online Systems Corporation moreover proclaimed that it was ‘fully confident’ that all of its dealings with the PCSO were ‘above-board and fair’ and had been ‘entered into in accordance with law’ while it ‘can only hope that the suspension will be lifted sooner rather than later.’
However, GGRAsia cited a statement from Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo as revealing that the inquiry is seeking to ‘identify the people involved as soon as possible’ and that ‘everything will remain closed’ until this goal has been fully accomplished.