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Anong corruption? Alejano believes Duterte’s PCSO shutdown is a shakedown

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

A lot of people are not buying President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that he shut down the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) games due to “massive corruption.”

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino compared Duterte’s July 26 order declaring illegal PCSO’s lotto, Small Town Lottery, Peryahan ng Bayan and Keno to “burning down the house to get the mice.”

“The President has the power to kick out corrupt PCSO officials and cancel any fraudulent franchise or close any illegal outlet. Yet he chooses to cancel all franchises and close down all outlets based on vague and sweeping accusations,” Casino said on Twitter.

Financial Times researcher Prince Magtulis bemoaned Duterte’s quick
trigger on PCSO compared to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations
which opened the floodgates to thousands of illegal Chinese workers in
the country.
“Without providing proof of alleged corruption, President Rodrigo
Duterte suspends legal PCSO gambling operations. With verified figures
of illegal Chinese workers in online gambling firms, Duterte did not
suspend POGO. Instead, Chinese workers were offered TIN (tax
identification number) applications,” said Magtulis on Twitter.
Magtulis noted that Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez himself has led
the tax registration of Chinese workers but only “after legislative
inquiries revealed thousands of illegal Chinese workers in online
gambling firms regulated by Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming
Corp.).

Former Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano believed the shutdown was a
“shakedown” which would allegedly enable Duterte to hand over the PCSO
games to his favored cronies.

“This is a shakedown just like what he did before in order to shake
off those non-allies who are current holders of gambling licenses &
franchises. Then later ‘re-open’ and award these to his friends and
allies. Corruption? I dont think that’s the issue,” said Alejano.

Alejano said a shakedown need not occur at the start of a politiko’s term.

“One has to consolidate his power first, establish the atmosphere of
fear, and control the people. As long as one wields the authority and
power, real and potential, he can shakedown anything even towards the
end of his term,” said Alejano.

Former government consultant Albert Lim has a similar take on
Duterte’s shutdown, but centered more on the bidding for the P8.3
billion, five-year lotto contract.
The Berjaya group, Philippine Gaming Management Corp. (PGMC), emerged
as the lone qualified bidder while the Pacific Online Systems Corp.
was disqualified.
PGMC currently operates the lotto operations in Luzon while Pacific
Online handles the Visayas-Mindanao leg.Their contract will end on
JUly 31 this year.

“PCSO wanted a Nationwide Online Lottery System (NOLS) to ‘unify’ the
Luzon & Visayas/Mindanao operations currently operated by two groups –
Berjaya (Chavit & Atong Ang daw) & Pacific Online (GMA daw),” said Lim
on Twitter.

“On July 8, only Berjaya and Pacific Online submitted bids. Very
intriguing. Nasaan yung ibang nag-attend ng pre-bid conf? Then the
silence. Then this news. Parallel to NOLS, DICT (Department of
Information and Communication Techonology) has been working on a new
voting system ala-Lotto. I hope this is not a mere coincidence,” he
added.

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