NBI ordered to give priority to PCSO probe

July 30, 2019
Menardo Guevarra

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to prioritize its probe of the PCSO and its licensed gaming outlets over alleged anomalies.

“I’ll just make sure that the NBI puts priority to this investigation because we know people are affected,” he said.

“Not so much yung operators as the people who rely on the charitable resources of the PCSO,” he pointed out.

Just the other day, Guevarra directed the NBI “to conduct an investigation and case build-up on the alleged graft and corrupt practices in the PCSO and its various operations, and, if evidence warrants, to file appropriate charges against persons found responsible for them.”

“Maybe after a week’s time, I’ll ask already for an official report,” the Secretary said.

He noted that the NBI may focus its investigation “on allegations that proper government share is not being remitted” by PCSO-licensed operations like the Small Town Lottery (STL) and Peryahan ng Bayan.

Guevarra said the NBI investigation may cover as far back as five years ago or at least since 2016 when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

He noted that STL continues to be hounded by allegations that it is being used as a cover for illegal games like jueteng.

Guevarra learned that there have been previous court orders preventing the closure of Peryahan ng Bayan operations.

“Nagkaroon ng agreement na magstatus quo muna and mag-aarbitrate (there have been agreements on maintaining a status quo and opting for arbitration). But no arbitration has actually been commenced,” he lamented.

“In the meantime, my understanding is the Peryahan ng Bayan continues to operate without remitting anything to the government and that has been going on for a few months already,” he added.