Lacson: STL might be better abolished

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2019 03:01 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2019 03:11 PM

MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said it might be better for government to just abolish Small Town Lottery (STL) as its operators have failed to remit their real earnings to the government.

Lacson made the statement amid the continuing suspension of STL, Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan under President Rodrigo Duterte's order against gaming operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. On Tuesday night, Duterte lifted the suspension but only for lotto operations. 

The senator argued STL has also been used as front operations of illegal numbers game “jueteng.”

“Kung mawala ang STL, the moment na makakita ang pulis ng kubrador, puwedeng hulihin,” Lacson told reporters in a forum.

(If we remove STL, a police officer can already arrest a bet collector the moment he sees him.)

“Mas mainam siguro, kung nadadaya naman ang gobyerno massively, tanggalin na lang ang STL.”

(It’s better if we just remove STL since government is being duped massively.)

Lacson, a former police chief, said jueteng operators earn as much as P73 billion a year in Metro Manila, the Cordillera Administrative Region, and Regions 1 to 5.

Lacson said annual STL earnings for government only amount to about P4 billion, “a big chunk of which is not even in cash remittances but recorded as collectibles.”

The problem with abolishing STL, Lacson said, is that it might be abused by corrupt police officers who would be willing to protect jueteng operations in exchange for money.

The STL was created to rival jueteng, but there had been reports that operators were under-declaring their real earnings.