By Ben Rosario
A senior administration lawmaker sought yesterday a congressional inquiry into whopping P4.049 billion shortage in sales collection of firms authorized by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to operate small town lottery joints in the country.
Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, chairman of the House committee on games and amusement, called the PCSO’s attention to 2017 annual audit report that the Commission on Audit submitted to the Lower House, saying that the shortfall in sales collections should be recovered from the 78 Authorized Agent Corporations (AACs) tagged by COA.
Tambunting said the congressional inquiry to be conducted by his committee will also cover COA’s disclosure that 30 AAC’s were granted authority to operate without paying in full the cash bond required of them.
Tambunting said 19 of the 30 ineligible AACs have a total outstanding balance of P294.524 million as of December 31, 2017.
“It is not enough that these ACCs have vowed to help eradicate ‘jueteng’ by operating STL, they have to fulfill mandatory obligations for them to remain in business,” he said.
The veteran solon said “PCSO should also be made to explain the failure to protect not only government interest, but even more the welfare of thousands of poor and sick Filipinos relying on its charity fund for their medical needs.”
Tambunting demanded the immediate imposition of strict sanctions against erring STL agents.
COA reported that the sales collection reported by 71 AACs for 2017 “were lower than their corresponding presumptive monthly retail receipts by P10.012 billion.
This poor sales performance violates Section 18 (3) of the 2016 revised Implementing Rules and Regulations for the STL.
“Shares in sales collections remitted by 71 AACs were short by P4.032 billion due to the P10.012 billion shortfall in their PMRRs while remittances of seven AACs that met their PMRRs were short by P17.344 million, making a total of P4.049 billion under remittances during CY 2017,” the audit agency stated.
The shortfall is even higher had it not for fact that several AACs readily complied with the payment of their respective sales deficit.
“As a result of the above-stated short remittances, PCSO was deprived of using the total amount of P4.049 billion to fund its various charitable programs that could have helped alleviate the plight of the less fortunate Filipino people,” the COA report stated.
The PCSO management said demand letters have already been sent to erring AACs. The letters contained threats of revocation by the state-run firm of the STL agency agreements it entered with the STL operators.