By Mario Casayuran
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson took exception Saturday to President Duterte’s statement that there is nothing wrong with police and military generals to own Small Town Lottery (STL) franchise from the PCSO as long as they are complying with the law and they are not cheating the government of its rightful share.
The Chief Executive was reacting to a statement of Lacson that some retired Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) generals are among those who have cornered STL franchises from the PCSO and are not remitting the government’s share of earnings that has reached the level of hundreds of millions of pesos.
At least some suspected ‘’jueteng’’ (numbers game) operators who use STL as their fronts remit at least 20 percent of the collections, Lacson said in a recent privilege speech.
In his Tweet message, Lacson said the acceptance of graft money, could be more addicting than drugs.
‘’There is no detoxification, nor is there rehabilitation facility available for addiction to money,’’ he added.
In his speech during the 118th Police Service Anniversary Celebration in Camp Crame, Duterte said there is nothing wrong with law enforcers to own the said franchises as long as they follow the law.
“There are allegations that police generals, retired, are into the STL, Lotto and whatnot. I said you do not have any problem with me,” he said last Friday evening.
“If it’s bidding, you participate as long as it is not rigged in your favor and you secure it, complying with the laws, no corruption, I will not begrudge you,” he added.
Duterte suspended the operations of STL and other numbers games sanctioned by the PCSO because of supposed massive corruption and conspiracy to cheat the government of its rightful share.
Duterte eventually green-lit the resumption of Lotto operations but STL and other numbers games remain suspended.
He is also thinking about allowing STL to operate again, saying he cannot just close it down because it may create a vacuum for illegal drugs.
“Pag-isipan ko muna ‘yang STL but Lotto can–I gave the green light, I said sige (Let me thing about STL. But for Lotto, they can resume already),” he said.
“If you can assure me that there will be no corruption, maybe I will consider. But if I’m not satisfied and if the big guys are still there to manipulate the game, I will not allow it. I’m sorry,” he added.
“And besides sabi ko dito sa (here in the) STL, Lotto, there is already an existing organization. You create a vacuum, drugs will come in. ‘Yan ang mahirap (That will be another problem),” he continued.