STL not achieving twin objectives; no rush bringing it back – Malacañang

Published August 21, 2019, 9:30 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Genalyn Kabiling

There is “no sense” to bring back small town lottery (STL) operations if the government cannot attain the twin objectives related to revenue generation and elimination of the illegal numbers game jueteng, a Palace official said Wednesday.

2017 GAA PLENARY/26SEP2016 At the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Appropriations Committee Chairman Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles gives his sponsorship speech at the first Plenary Session for the 2017 General Appropriations Act. MB PHOTO/FEDERICO CRUZ
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement after the President ordered the shutdown of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) gaming activities such as STL over alleged massive corruption.

“There has to be a very good reason for us to bring back STL. Siguro ibabalik if we can guarantee the STL will achieve two objectives: one to raise revenue for the government and two eliminate jueteng,” he said during a media forum in Manila.

“If you do not accomplish those twin objectives, one cannot be without the other, if you do not achieve those two objectives, then there is no sense for us to bring back STL,” he added.

He said the President would “not succumb to pressure” to lift the suspension on STL operations if he believes corruption persists. He insisted that Duterte remained “dead set” on eliminating corruption in the PCSO gaming operations.

“It is not alarming in the sense wala naman pressure si Pangulo to open up STL agad dahil nape-pressure siya dahil kulang ang revenue natin but thereby sacrificing his anti-corruption campaign. So the President will also not succumb to that pressure,” he said.

“The President is dead set on ending corruption in PCSO and that’s why he will not be pressured to be open STL if he sees it is still a source of corruption in the agency,” he added.

He claimed that some STL operators have not made properly remitted revenues to the government for many years.

“They have not been remitting what were the targets set so it means if it’s not going to the government’s coffers, then it is going to somebody else’s pocket,” he said.

“Because they have not been hitting the targets, then it is safe to assume the money went to somewhere else, meaning to say, it went to jueteng. If that’s the setup, the President will have none of that,” he added.

With the suspension of the STL operations, Nograles said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has stepped up the campaign on illegal gambling. He noted that the government has been “successful” in this crackdown after jueteng operations have reportedly dropped.

“The President is now faced with the decision if he will return STL, for what, if the anti-jueteng operations are successful because we stopped STL. We can get revenues elsewhere,” he added.

Earlier, President Duterte halted the PCSO gaming operations except for lotto pending an investigation into the alleged massive corruption. The President has discovered a grand conspiracy of players and participants of all gaming operations to cheat the government of its rightful shares.

The suspension of the lotto operations was later lifted by the President since no irregularity was found in the system.