By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte said he tapped gaming tycoon Charlie “Atong” Ang to clean up the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which he had called as a corrupt agency.
The President admitted he confronted Ang about his gambling operations and then asked him to help in the government campaign against illegal gambling.
The state-run charity agency has been marred by allegations that its small town lottery (STL) was used by gambling lords as a front for their operation.
“I called him up and said, ‘Atong, you are the number one gambler in Davao. You control everything. Let’s not kid ourselves,” Duterte said in his speech before flying to India for a working visit.
“Go to PCSO, stop the illegal activities and help the government. That was the only reason I called for Atong Ang,” he said.
During a Senate inquiry into the PCSO controversy, Ang claimed he talked to Duterte in Davao about the problems at the agency.
He then reportedly discussed with top PCSO officials how to improve revenue collection and improve performance, but his efforts were ignored. He said he was even accused of trying to corner STL operations.
In the same speech, the President recalled that a former President wanted to set up a jai-alai venture in Davao “many years ago” but he opposed it.
Duterte did not name the former president.
“I told him, ‘We’re friends. Don’t force that because we will end up fighting. I don’t want to fight with you if you push through with the jai-alai in Davao,” the President said.