THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has declared Small-Town Lottery or STL as the only legal and authorized numbers’ game nationwide, meaning it, together with law enforcement agencies led by the Philippine National Police will go after ‘jueteng’ and other illegal number games in the country effective immediately.
PCSO chairman, retired Police Director Jose Jorge Corpuz, said that the STL shall be implemented locally all over the country through Authorized Agent Corporations (AAC), taking into consideration the manpower of the PCSO and other relevant factors, as may be determined by the PCSO Board of Directors. He said that STL shall be the only legal and authorized numbers game nationwide, and the PCSO AAC’s are the only entities or persons authorized to operate and conduct STL in their areas of operation.
As approved by the new PCSO board, local government units are encouraged to support the STL operations to help raise revenues for the government particularly to get additional funds for PCSO’s health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character, and at the same time provide funds to various local government units for their health programs and medical assistance and services.
Corpuz said the STL will also provide an alternative to jueteng and other illegal numbers games/operations like ‘masiao, bookies operations, game fixing, and other forms of lotteries and to aid their eradication; and at the same time provide additional opportunities for employment.
As ruled by the PCSO, STL Draw Court and STL stations/sub-stations should be 100 meters away from places of learning and places of worship. No bet will also be accepted from minors or those below 18.
Section 21 of the PCSO’s 2016 Expanded STL Implementing Rules and Regulations says that the STL is ‘the only legal and authorized numbers game nationwide.’ Accordingly, all AAC’s shall strictly comply and abide with the following:
To immediately report the conduct, presence or existence, of any illegal or unauthorized gambling activity or operations by any person or persons within its approved area of operation;
Avoid, and is prohibited from, at all times and any and all circumstances, giving, delivering, remitting, granting, paying or contributing any money, cash or anything of value or consideration, directly or indirectly, to any person or individual, to any local official, to any local government unit (LGU); to any Congressman or his office; to the local office or command of the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), or any other law enforcement agency, or any of its member, or officer, in consideration for, by reason of, or otherwise related to the conduct of STL operations;
To report immediately to the PCSO or any of its offices or branches, any person, including any PNP/NBI official, any government official or employee, who requests, asks, solicits, extorts, demand or in any manner seeks the payment or delivery of money, cash or anything of value or consideration, directly or indirectly, from any Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC) in connection with, by reason of, or otherwise related to the conduct of STL operations.
To ensure utmost compliance with these special provisions on illegal gambling and related activities, PCSO reserves the right to initiate and file the necessary and appropriate criminal and/or administrative charges against the AAC, or any of its officers or employees, against any police officer, government employee or any person, who are found under existing laws and procedures to have violated any provisions of the Revised Penal Code and such other penal laws.
Section 46 of the STL IRR states that ‘No STL operation shall be used for partisan political purposes and activities,’ ‘No officer or employee of the PCSO or any relative within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity may be a stockholder or employee of any STL AAC.’
Corpuz, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1982, said that effective immediately, the PCSO-run STL will be the only legal numbers’ game all over the country, it being the tool to be used by the government to stop ‘jueteng’ and other illegal number games nationwide.
“The STL will be the government’s tool in stopping illegal number games on the ground once and for all,” said the man tasked by President Duterte to lead the government crackdown to stop ‘jueteng’ operators who are using the state-sanctioned lottery as a ‘front’ to the consternation of the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies in the past.
Corpuz and retired Marine Major General Alexander Balutan were named by President Duterte as PCSO chairman and general manager respectively to help stop organized illegal gambling syndicates from using STL as cover for their illicit trade.