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New rules, new racket? Ex-PCSO chairman, GM face graft raps before Ombudsman over lost STL revenues

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By Nancy Carvajal

The Nationa Bureau of Investigation has recommended for prosecution before the Office of Ombudsman 15 former and current officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) over the loss of more than P637 million income of Small Town Lottery in 2017 and 2018, official documents bared.

Accused of graft and gross misconduct were: Jorge Corpuz former PCSO chair, Alexander Balutan, ex-General Manager of PCSO; Board of Directors; Betty Nantes, Mabel Mamba, Francisco Joaquin, Marlon Balite, Sandra Cam, Jesus Manuel Suntay, Remeliza Gabuyo, Lauro Patiag, Anna Liza Inciong, Merceditas Hinayon, Arnel Casas, Andy Gauran and Edwin Mackay.

On top of the graft charge, Gabuyo the Assistant General Manager of Branch Operations and head of the STL Monitoring group was also charged with Obstruction of Justice and Serious Dishonesty.

The charges against the accused stemmed from the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation ordered by the Department of Justice on July 2019 following reports on corruption and findings of the Commission on Audit.

Some of the NBI findings that led to the filing of cases against the accused were:

· Introduction of new Implementing rules on STL in 2016 without
approval from President Duterte who has direct control and supervision
of PCSO that led to the loss of hundreds of millions of revenues.

· STL operators were given free hand on printing their own
tickets, under PCSO rules, tickets given to operators is fixed and
determined by the PCSO

· the accused increased the operating funds of PCSO, instead of
declaring the printing cost as savings and to be reverted to charity
fund

· Total of P637, 256, 170.00 for 2017 and 2018 should have been
made part of the charity fund, due to discontinued printing of STL
tickets, but instead was used to fund operations, a violation under
the PCSO rules.

According to the charge sheet, Gabuyo who recommended to Balutan and members of the Board the resolution of the discontinuance of the printing of STL tickets, denied the existence of new 2016 STL IRR.

However, the slain PCSO Board Secretary provided the investigators a copy of the document signed by the accused, including Gabuyo as head of the monitoring group.

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