Crackdown on other games continues: Lotto outlets back online
CEBU, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the resumption of popular legalized gambling game, Lotto, barely four days after it was ordered suspended due to alleged massive corruption at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“(The) suspension of lotto operations is lifted immediately,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Tuesday night.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has relayed the information to Panelo, apparently in response to the public uproar over the need for government to provide funds for medical assistance and social services.
“The rest of the gaming operations is still undergoing investigation. Pending the results of that, per Executive Secretary the suspension on the lotto operations is lifted,” Panelo said.
In a statement released to the media, Panelo said the rest of all gaming operations with franchises, licenses, or permits granted by PCSO such as Small-Town Lottery (STL), Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB), shall remain suspended pending investigation.
The Office of the President will is awaiting evaluate the results from agencies concerned.
“Franchise holders and operators of Lotto outlets may now resume with their operations,” Panelo said. “The lifting of the suspension of Lotto operations takes effect immediately.”
“Well, the President is thinking of ways how to respond to that situation,” Panelo said, referring to the workers who were displaced by the suspension.
In Cebu, the Cebu City Police Office said it will continue with its operation against the games that are still suspended.
City Police Director Gemma Vinluan said 1,300 unauthorized gaming outlets have been closed in Cebu since the suspension took effect last week.
“Kaya, tama lang talaga ang ginawa nang ating mahal na Presidente na ipasara lahat yan (It is just right that the President ordered these outlets closed),” Vinluan said, referring to the unregistered outlets that have sprouted.
She encouraged operators to settle their obligations with PCSO so they can operate again.
“Hanggang walang ibinibigay na authorization ang ating PSCO na ang headquarters po ng Philippine National Police or PNP, lahat nga mag o-operate kakasuhan po namin (Until PCSO gives authorization, the PNP will charge those who will operate illegally),” Vinluan said.
Police Regional Office – 7 Director Debold Sinas agrees. He said, however, that he will instruct his men to remove “close” signs from Lotto outlets that have been shut down.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the city will abide by the order of the President. He said he will see to it that the police will make sure no illegal gaming activities will take place in the city.
Aside from the closure of the illegal establishments, the National Bureau of Investigation also arrested at least 23 people in different barangays in Consolacion and Liloan towns in Cebu after Duterte gave the suspension order last Friday.
The 23 arrested operated the Peryahan ng Bayan, one of the games of PCSO.
The PNP has closed down 551 Lotto outlets; 3,482 small time Lotto outlets; 1,864 Peryahan ng Bayan outlets; and 30 Keno outlets in Region 7 but it clarified gaming activities operated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) are not covered by the president’s order. Jebert A. Sarsonas (FREEMAN) / Philippine Star News Service