PCSO to appeal Duterte’s order against lotteries, games
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - July 27, 2019 - 2:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — Officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office said Saturday they will ask President Rodrigo Duterte to reverse his order shutting down lotteries and other gaming activities due to alleged “massive corruption.”

In a videotaped message released Friday night, Duterte said “all gaming schemes” run by the PCSO should cease their operations pending investigation. He gave the police and military 24 hours to remove all PCSO lotteries and games from public spaces.

“Rest assured that the PCSO shall appeal to the Office of the President for the resumption of the conduct of all games to PCSO’s mandate and for the interest of the PCSO, its agents and its beneficiaries,” PCSO general manager Royina Garma said.

“To our valued customers, please be advised that our PCSO games are suspended, pursuant to the directive of [the president]. All players with advance play tickets are advised to keep their tickets until further notice,” she added.

The PCSO is the principal agency for raising funds for health programs.

Forty percent of the charity fund and mandatory contributions of PCSO will be used to partly finance the expansion of universal healthcare in Philippines — which Duterte signed into law last February.

In 2018, PCSO generated a total of P63.5 billion revenue, up 20% from P52.9 billion in 2017. Bulk of the earnings came from its most patronized games — the Lotto and the Digit games — which gained 14 percent to P31.9 billion.

In a statement released Saturday, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte issued the directive after he discovered a “grand conspiracy” to “cheat the government of its rightful shares.”

“The chief executive will identify the culprits in due time and the full force of the law will come crushing down on them. This hydra-headed corruption will be cut off until it reproduces no more,” he added.

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