De Lima hits Duterte’s ‘irrational act’ of shutting down PCSO’s gaming operations

By Hannah Torregoza

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday branded President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest order to shutdown the gaming operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as another “irrational act.”

Senator Leila De Lima during the Senate hearing on Extra Judicial Killings and war on drugs at Senate on Monday, October 3, 2016. (Photo by Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin) Senator Leila De Lima (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

De Lima said the President’s claim he has information of the massive corruption in the state gaming agency is similar to his earlier claims members of the opposition are part of a conspiracy to oust him from power.

“The last time we heard President Duterte cited intel, what we got was his rubbish matrix that accused members of the opposition in a conspiracy to eject him from office,” De Lima said.

“Now, he claims that shutting down the gaming operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was a decision arrived at from intel. Hindi kaya lutong macau lamang ito?” she pointed out.

She said the PCSO fiasco is typical ‘Duterte-style’ where he would order the arbitrary closure or arrest of personalities without any investigation or truthful inquiry and plans, consultation. Most of the time, she said the administration’s policies have no direction and doesn’t even consider the impact to the people.

“Ang masaklap pa rito, hindi ang mga opisyal na tiwali ang direktang tatamaan, kundi ang mga programa at tulong na inaasahan ng mga kababayan natin sa PCSO (What is worse is that it’s not the corrupt officials that are directly being hit but the programs and the financial aid that our people are expecting from the PCSO),” the senator lamented.

“Corruption-plagued PCSO may very well be, or indeed is. But isn’t Duterte’s cure worse than the disease? Why does he choose a remedy that will kill the whole institution and its stakeholders? Why would the jobs and income of over 1,600 employees and 300,000 lottery operators and sales agents suffer for the wrongdoings and incompetence of those in charge of PCSO’s operations?” she asked.

“Who appointed these PCSO officials anyway? Why should the indigent patients take the brunt of this order when President Duterte could have just sought the suspension, prosecution and jailing of erring officials?” she emphasized.

She reiterated that shutting down PCSO does not make sense and obviously warrants deep scrutiny. She said it is imperative to know who gains from the closure of PCSO operations.

“Obviously, not the indigent stakeholders, nor the PCSO employees and lottery operators and staff. Are vested interests behind this abuse of power?” she queried.