Has corruption in PCSO franchises reached the courts?

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has ordered all trial courts nationwide to submit reports on all cases involving the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

In a circular released on Monday, July 29, Court Administrator Midas Marquez said trial court judges and branch clerks of court have until August 15 to do so. 

Their reports, to be submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), must cover pending or terminated cases filed from January 2018 to the present. 

Marquez issued the circular after discussing with Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin “serious allegations of massive corruption involving small town lottery and other gaming franchises issued by the PCSO, some of which have supposedly reached the courts.” 

Marquez had also issued a memorandum to judges of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaluyong City, some of whose branches have delivered temporary restraining orders (TRO) and injunctions against PCSO.  

PCSO Chairperson Anselmo Pinili had raised concerns over the said cases in a February 12 letter to OCA, in which he claimed that writs of preliminary injunction were issued to small town lottery (STL) agents whose agreements with PCSO had been terminated.

The SC circular comes after President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, July 26, ordered the closure of all gaming schemes operated, licensed, and franchised by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) due to “massive corruption.”  

PCSO General Manager Royina Garma said the agency is supportive of Duterte’s order but that it would appeal for a reconsideration in light of the potential losses in revenues and jobs. 

The Philippine National Police on Monday said that over 30,000 lotto, Keno, STL, and Peryahan ng Bayan outlets had been closed down since the police acted on the verbal order from the President. – Rappler.com