By Mario Casayuran
Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager retired General Alexander Balutan denied on Thursday that there are some retired generals who are franchise holders of Small Town Lottery (STL) operations that do not remit to PCSO their royalties amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos.
‘’Not true! Please name those generals! If ever, they are incorporators who stake their hard earned retirement pension but not the owner of the (ASA) (Authorized STL Agent) that went to rigid selection process,’’ Balutan said in a text message sent to Senate reporters.
Balutan was reacting to allegations by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson. a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, during a press forum at the Senate that there was a proliferation of STL franchises given by Balutan during his tenure at the PCSO.
Lacson said while ‘’jueteng’ ’(numbers game) lords operating as STL franchise holders gave at least 20 percent of their profits to the PCSO, retired military and police officials who are STL operators pocketed their earnings.
He thus urged President Duterte to shut down STL operations because gambling lords and corrupt officials do not remit at least P73 billion annually from their ‘’jueteng’’ operations using STL as their fronts.
Balutan fired back: ‘’But why pick on generals only?’’
‘’There are STL operators who are lawyers, engineers, contractors etc.’’, he said.
For the record, the PCSO Board terminated those ASAs which cannot comply with shortfall. However, they seek relief from the courts by issuing TROs (temporary restraining orders) and Injunctions,’’ he pointed out.
‘’Ano magawa namin? Defy the law? So marami nawawala kita but that’s on papers only. Wala kami ibinubulsa as alleged,’’ he stressed. (What can we do? So there is a big amount of collection. We did not pocket anything as alleged.)