By Mario Casayuran
Any decision by Malacanang to reopen the revenue-generating games under the supervision of the alleged graft-ridden Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) remains on-hold.
Neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Special Assistant to the President (SAP), said President Duterte wanted to clean the PCSO by investigating its contracts before making a decision on whether or not to lift wholly or partially the President’s closure order.
In a brief interview before the Senate plenary session, Go told Senate reporters that the President knew fully well that many indigent Filipinos depend on the PCSO to help them with their medical and hospitalization expenses.
Go said there were many contracts entered into by the PCSO that President Duterte wanted investigated because they supposedly prejudiced the government’s interests.
Asked how soon the President could lift his closure order on PCSO operations, Go said the public should wait for the conclusion of the President’s investigation.
“Ang sabi ni Presidente sa akin, kung may makita ka corruption, puwede kamagsalita sa Senado,” he explained. (The President had told me that I can talk about corruption in the Senate on the PCSO issue if I see there is evidence of corruption.)
He said he would wait for the result of the President’s probe before he would initiate a Senate inquiry into the PCSO mess.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said he favored the retention by the PCSO of its Lotto operations, but not the controversial Small Town Lottery (STL) where operators have yet to remit to PCSOP tens of billions of pesos worth of their operations.
He said “jueteng” (numbers game) operators have been making billions of pesos by hiding behind the PCSO-approved STL.