THE House committee on good government ordered yesterday the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office
(PCSO) to submit a list of congressmen and congresswomen receiving proceeds from government-run
Small Town Lottery (STL) operations that would be used to fund congressional projects.
During yesterday’s panel hearing chaired by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel on the
controversial PCSO Christmas party, it granted the request of Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado
which also ordered the PCSO to submit a list of lawmakers who refused to accept funds from the STL,
a form of legal gambling that was designed to eliminate the illegal numbers racket.
Under the law, seven percent of STL income in a particular district will be allocated for
the projects in the area.
Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, who chairs the House committee on Metro Manila
development, said there was no STL operations in the entire Quezon City.
“We rejected the STL operations. There is no STL here,” said Castelo.
For opposing STL, Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal also said that his district did not
receive any single centavo from its operations.
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, president of the Party List Coalition (PLC),
proposed to call all suspected gambling lords in the country to craft a much stronger STL
implementing rules and regulations (IRR) after gambling businessman and consultant Charlie “Atong”
Ang’s claim that the design of STL was bound to fail. “Siguro ang [House] committee on games and
amusements dito ng Kongreso pati na ang [House] committee on good government ay ipatawag ang lahat
ng mga eksperto o kung sino man ang nagki-claim na eksperto sila sa sugal. Pumunta sila dito sa
Kongreso at magsabi kung ano ang dapat gawin para magkaroon ng malaking kita ang gobyerno, maiwasan
ang mga iligal na aktibidad at bookies,” said Batocabe.
During the hearing, PCSO board member Sandra Cam said she will not reconcile with PCSO
General Manager Alexander Balutan on her expose against the alleged extravagant Christmas party.
While she respects President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte clearing Balutan from the controversy,
Cam said the Chief Executive may not be serious about his statement.
But House Minority Floor Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said the Christmas party
controversy was over with the President’s statement, adding reconciliation among bickering PCSO
officials should follow.
Balutan reported to the committee that PCSO’s income reached P52 billion last year compared
to P37.4 billion in 2016.