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Mayor sued over STL raid

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Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office

THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and one of its agents on Tuesday filed graft and corruption and other criminal and administrative charges against Cauayan City Mayor Bernard Faustino Dy before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The complaint, which was filed by the PSCO through its General Manager Royina Garma and the Sahara Games and Amusement Philippines Corporation (SAHARA) represented by its President, Eduardo Davalan, stemmed from a raid conducted by Dy and his men on a duly authorized Small Town Lottery (STL) facility in Cauayan City.

SAHARA is an authorized agent of the PCSO legally conducting STL operations in Isabela province.

In their 16-page complaint, the PCSO and SAHARA charged with corruption Dy, Cauayan City Legal Officer Eman Marquez, Business and Permit Licensing Officer Atty. Sherwin Luna, Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) chief Pilarito Malilin and other unnamed POSD personnel. They were also charged with Grave Coercion and robbery with intimidation which are defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

Separate administrative charges of grave misconduct , grave abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service as defined and penalized under Republic Act 6713 or Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and employees were also filed against the same respondents before the Ombudsman.

According to the complaint, Dy and his companions must be held accountable for conducting an illegal and unauthorized raid on November 5 at PCSO’s STL “draw court” in Brgy. Fermin, Cauayan City where they forcibly confiscated the draw machine and other lottery equipment.

A “draw court” is the facility by which the winning numbers in lottery games are drawn.

The complainants said that apart from the fact that the STL facility is a duly authorized agent tasked by PCSO to conduct small town lottery, Dy and his men also failed to show any search warrant or any court order authorizing the raid. Dy could only show a copy of the demand letter to the SAHARA group to stop their operation because they have no business permit to operate STL in the province of Isabela.

But the complainants maintained that the PCSO, through SAHARA, can conduct small town lottery operations even without a business permit issued by Local Government Units. This is provided under the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) promulgated by the PCSO board of directors that was concurred in by the Department of Finance.

“By virtue of RA 1169 as amended, Congress has vested upon the PCSO the power to regulate the conduct of its activities. Given its mounting financial commitment to its beneficiaries, the PCSO needed additional sources of Funds. PCSO launched the STL for the purpose of increasing its revenue base and diversifying its sources of funds,” the complaint said.

Apart from being an additional source of revenue, the STL was conceptualized by the PCSO to stop the operation of jueteng, last-two and other illegal numbers games which are mostly operated and maintained by local government officials.

Publication Source :    People's Journal