STL conditions meant to thwart corruption, says Palace

THE conditions set for the resumption of small town lottery (STL) operations would stop the proliferation of corruption in the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Malacañang said on Friday, August 23.

"The conditions [imposed for the resumption of STL operatoons] will prevent the corruption, kasi you have to sign, tsaka may forfeiture, andaming provisions eh. Mahihirapan na sila (because you have to sign and there is forfeiture, there are many provisions. It will be difficult for them)," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a chance interview.

Panelo issued the statement a day after PCSO General Manager Royina Garma announced the President's decision to lift the suspension order on the operations of the STL, provided that authorized agent corporations would heed the four conditions set by the government.

Among the conditions set were the STL owners' payment of cash bond "equivalent to three months of the PCSO’s share in the guaranteed monthly retail receipts (GMRR) on top of their existing cash bonds."

The new cash bond would be "automatically forfeited" in favor of PCSO, upon STL firm's failure to "timely and fully" remit GMRR during the duration of its operations and without prejudice to the other remedies that may be exercised by the government.

Each STL operator is mandated to execute a written undertaking that "it shall comply with its obligations under the STL agency agreement and will not institute any claims, monetary or otherwise against the government and/or apply for a temporary restraining order or injunction from any court to prevent the government from exercising its rights and prerogatives."

The last condition needed to be complied is that the STL agency agreement would be "automatically" terminated "upon violation of the conditions of their franchise and/or any of the above conditions without prejudice to the other remedies that may be exercised by the government."

Duterte on July 26 ordered the suspension of all PCSO-licensed games.

Panelo noted that investigation on alleged erring individuals involved in illegal activities in the PCSO would continue.

"Eh 'di pa naman tapos yata 'yung imbestigasyon with respect to that. Wala pa akong naririnig na final report (The investigation, perhaps, is not yet done. I haven't seen any final report)," he said.

Asked if the lifting order means there is no corruption at STL, Panelo said: "No."

Pressed as to why Duterte allowed the resumption of STL operations despite the ongoing probe, the Palace official said, "We have to ask the President regarding that."

"But what is important is to me, from my point of view, the conditions are very onerous on the part of the STL and there is... Parang mahirapan na silang magkaroon ng (It would be difficult for them to make an) excuse not to remit or to swindle the government with respect to the shares," he added. (SunStar Philippines)


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