PRRD reconsiders: Lotto back, STL suertres Keno, perahan still closed

The public can resume playing Lotto operated by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) following President Duterte’s decision to lift the suspension on the popular game.

“As per the advice of Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, the suspension of lotto operations has been ordered lifted by the President,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement Tuesday night.

“Franchise holders and operators of lotto outlets may now resume with their operations. The lifting of the suspension of lotto operations takes effect immediately,” he said.

In allowing lotto operations to resume, Medialdea explained the government found no irregularity in the gaming activity during the investigation.

“Investigators found no anomalies in the conduct of its operation, its sanctity remained untainted and proper regulatory rules followed,” he said in a text message.

Panelo however said the other PCSO games will remain suspended pending an investigation into the alleged corruption in the agency.

“The rest of all gaming operations with franchises, licenses or permits granted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), such as Small- Town Lottery (STL), Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB), shall remain suspended pending the investigation of illegal activities and corrupt practices related thereto until the Office of the President evaluates the results of said probe,” he said.

The lifting of the suspension of lotto came after President Duterte ordered the closure of PCSO games over alleged massive corruption in a televised public address last Friday. The Palace claimed there was a conspiracy among major players in the PCSO games that deprive the government its rightful share of revenues.

The President’s decision came after some groups raised concern over the thousands of workers who will be affected by the shutdown of PCSO gaming operations. Some lawmakers have also reportedly appealed to spare the lotto operations from the suspension if there was no allegation of corruption in the automated game.

Asked if the lifting of the suspension of lotto operations indicated the President believed there is no corruption in the game, Panelo said over television: “It could be, because we all know lotto is machine operated so corruption might be much less in that area.”

Meantime, Panelo said the President is looking for ways to assist the workers affected by the closure of the PCSO games.

“I’m sure the President looks at those circumstances. He will. As I said he is finding ways by which to do something about it,” he said in a television interview Tuesday night.

He also asked for patience from the public even as he voiced confidence Filipinos could withstand the latest challenge.

“Filipinos are very very resilient such that when adverse circumstances come to us, we cope with it. We are so creative people. We know that this situation is hard for some of us, but we can cope with it. A little patience is required,” he said. (By Genalyn Kabiling & Jansen Romero)