PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan takes a pose with Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. after giving the latter a briefer about the agency’s revenue collection efforts including the fight against illegal gambling.
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Thursday slammed the complaint filed by an employee of Globaltech Mobile Online Gaming Corp. after the agency led the closure of the firm’s illegal operation of “peryahan ng bayan” in Bacolod City.
“The peryahan being operated by Globaltech in some parts of the country is illegal and must be closed,” PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said.
“This is plainly harassment,” Balutan added, of the complaint filed against his Executive Assistant VI Manuel Fraginal Sr.
Last April, Fraginal led a team and padlocked Globaltech’s draw center in Bacolod in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 13, his all-out war against illegal gambling.
The EO aims to “strengthen the fight against illegal gambling and clarifying the jurisdiction of concerned agencies in the regulation and licensing of gambling and online gaming facilities”.
It defines illegal gambling as any game schemes not authorized or licensed by the government.
In 2016, PCSO terminated Globaltech’s Deed of Authority to operate peryahan for various violations. The firm owes PCSO an estimated P100 million of unremitted revenues.
In October 2017, the Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 161, junked Globaltech’s prayer for Writ of Injunction.
“PCSO has not authorized any other entity to operate peryahan. Any operation of peryahan is unauthorized and illegal,” Balutan said.
Fraginal, also chief of the Nationwide Inter-Branch Security Monitoring division of the PCSO, received a subpoena on May 15, 2018 for “Alarm and Scandal and Grave Coercion” issued by Investigating Prosecutor Edward C. Pascua from the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office.
The complaint was filed by Lito Estember, officer-in-charge of Globaltech’s branch office.
Fraginal, for his part, said he was only doing his job to go after illegal gambling such as peryahan that continues to frustrate the goal of PCSO to produce more revenues through its various lottery games to fund the government’s charity services especially medical assistance to poor Filipinos.
Fraginal said that stopping illegal gambling is the responsibility of local government units and the local police.
“Ang problema, hindi sila gumagalaw. E paano mapapataas ang revenue collection natin sa pamamagitan ng ating Small Town Lottery at iba pang lottery games sa lugar na ‘yan kung may iligal namang peryahan at iba pa?” he said.
And true enough, Fraginal and elements of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) struck again recently Globaltech’s peryahan in Bacolod and Escalante City that resulted to the arrest of 24 suspects.
One of the arrested and jailed was Estember who were facing charges including the violation of Republic Act 9287 (An Act Increasing the Penalties for Illegal Numbers Games Amending Certain Provisions of Presidential Decree 1602 and for Other Purposes).