President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a halt in all gaming operations with franchises, licenses or permits granted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), citing corruption.
The order will take effect Saturday, July 27, he said.
"I have today ordered the closure, the stoppage of all gaming schemes of whatever nature that got franchises to do so from PCSO. . . . The ground is massive corruption," Duterte said in a video message aired by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
"Hinto na, that's my order," he said, adding that he will have the alleged corruption investigated in the operation of these gaming schemes.
"Lahat ng laro ng lotto, STL (Small Town Lottery), Peryahan ng Bayan, or whatever nature, there's one yung gambling machine, Keno, yung gambling that got the franchise from PCSO are as of today, suspended or terminated because of massive corruption," he added.
Duterte also ordered the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines "to arrest anybody . . . engaged with gambling activities in connection with franchises granted by PCSO."
Duterte said he would not honor court orders that would interfere with his directive.
"The ground is massive corruption involving all, pati courts, who issue repeatedly injunctions to paralyze government and to allow corruption to thrive," he said.
"Puro dayaan lahat, at yung mga kontrata ay parang crafted in favor of corruption and to favor other corporation. . . .I will not honor any order from any court stopping us or enjoining us to stop our desire to go into investigation for the massive corruption that is existing in the PCSO," he said.
The chief executive said that he prefers gambling activities to stop, but added that he would confer with Congress about it.
"Sinabi ko na nga walang corruptiopn, hinihingi talaga ninyo, ibigay ko sa inyo.
We have offered something to tide the people, allowing gambling and maybe it can help in the economic activity because money goes around but if you fuck government, talagang kayo ang naghingi, ibibigay ko sa inyo," he said.
In March this year, Duterte sacked Alexander Balutan as the general manager of the PCSO for alleged corruption in the light of a congressional investigation of anomalies in the state-run charity.
The PCSO is the main government agency for raising and providing funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character.
In January this year, it posted a P63.5 billion income, marking a 20-percent growth from its revenue in 2017. —LDF, GMA News