Palace downplays impact of suspension of PCSO games
MALACAÑANG on Tuesday, July 30, downplayed the impact of the suspension of all gaming activities of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and assured that President Rodrigo Duterte does not plan to abolish the agency.
In a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also stressed that the President’s closure order is legal. There is no need for the President to issue a written directive, he added.
An unofficial tally by the PCSO showed that around 120,000 agents and workers will be affected by the closure of over 30,000 lotto stations and gaming outlets nationwide.
Panelo, however, said the government would not provide interventions for the displaced PCSO workers.
“I’m sure ‘yun namang mga naapektuhan, hindi naman sila ganoon kahirap. Marami naman silang kinita during those times na they were operating. So I’m sure meron silang pondo to live by,” he said.
(I’m sure those affected are not poor. They earned money during those times that they were operating. So I’m sure they have funds to live by.)
“Bakit, noong hindi pa ba sila empleyado, hindi sila nabubuhay? Do not underestimate the human spirit of Filipinos. ‘Pag may dumarating na storm o anumang sakuna o anong
mga bagsak sa ating buhay, nakakaahon naman tayo,” Panelo added.
(Did they not survive when they were still not PCSO employees? Do not underestimate the human spirit of Filipinos. We can survive every time there is storm or disaster or any catastrophic events.)
In response to a question on whether the suspension is illegal, Panelo said, “Hindi. Unang-una, ‘yung PCSO ay nasa opisina ng Presidente. Siya ang may kontrol, supervision sa lahat ng ahensya na nasa ilalim ng Office of the President.”
(No. First and foremost, the PCSO is under the Office of the President. He has the control and supervision of all agencies under the Office of the President.)
Panelo likewise said there was no need for Duterte to sign a document which contains his closure order of all PCSO gaming activities.
Panelo clarified that the President merely stopped the operations of Pcso-licensed games in an attempt to rid the agency of “massive” corruption within the state gaming firm.
“He did not abolish PCSO. He ordered the closure of outlets. We’re not talking of closure of this agency. We’re talking of stopping massive corruption,” the Palace official said.
“Obviously, sa ngayon wala. Kung meron man, madali nang gawan ng paraan ‘yun (Obviously, there is none, as of now. But if there is such plan, it can easily be done). Whether it will entail [congressional act] or not, it will be done in a constitutional way,” he added, when asked if Duterte has plan of abolishing the PCSO.
He also noted that Duterte’s order was just “temporary.”
“Hindi kailangan (The President does not need to sign a document). The directive of the President, even if verbal, is legal. As I said, it’s legal. So if it’s legal, you don’t have to put down in writing,” Panelo said.
“It (closure order) would appear to be [just temporary]... Iyan ay pansamantala lamang (The order is just temporary). The President wants to rid [the PCSO of] massive corruption and he has to do something about it. We have to do what the President has done,” he added.
Duterte, in a July 26 video message, ordered the suspension of all gaming activities of the PCSO due to alleged massive corruption in the agency.
He directed the police and the military to enforce his order, which covers all Pcso-licensed games like lotto, Peryahan ng Bayan, small town lottery, and Keno.