September 16, 2012
PIMENTEL TO PROBE NEW PCSO DEAL
It's the turn of the new board of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), headed by its chairman Margarita Juico, to face a Senate inquiry soon, according to Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, chairman of the Committee on Games and Amusements.
Pimentel said he would conduct an inquiry into reports that the present PCSO board allegedly violated its exclusive equipment leasing agreement with the local gaming unit of the Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya and signed a contract with a new company without public bidding.
Pimentel set no date for the inquiry but said "it is necessary that we get to the bottom of a very serious allegation of Berjaya."
The senator from Mindanao indicated that with the popularity of the lotto games managed by the PCSO, he would also look into the integrity of all lotto games.
"The PCSO is supposed to be a under a regime of transparency and fairness as part of the government's stand against corruption in all levels of the bureaucracy," Pimentel said.
The planned probe is the offshoot of a disclosure made by Berjaya Philippines to the Philippine Stock Exchange that its subsidiary has authorized the filing of "criminal, civil and administrative cases against the state-owned PCSO."
In its resolution, Berjaya Philippines' subsidiary, Philippine Gaming Management Corp., authorized PGMC president Paulino Soo to file the lawsuit against the PCSO.
Berjaya Philippines and the PCSO, the lessee, had an agreement under which PGMC, as the exclusive provider, leased to the state gaming firm its specialized lottery equipment for PCSO's online lottery in Luzon.
Under the agreement, PGMC is the sole provider or exclusive source of lottery equipment for Luzon until its expiration in August 2015.
Berjaya Philippines complained in its disclosure based on Pacific Online's disclosure to the Philippines Stock Exchange on June 1, 2012 "that the PCSO and Pacific Online entered into an agreement allowing Pacific Online to lease to PCSO lottery equipment for PCSO's online lottery operations in Luzon."
Pacific Online Systems Corporation is a unit of leisure estate and gaming firm, Belle Corp. It leases to PCSO the equipment for its online lottery operations in the Visayas and Mindanao.
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