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PCSO welcomes PACC probe vs. ‘corrupt’ officials

THE PHILIPPINE  Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Friday welcomed the result of the probe conducted by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) against its officials allegedly involved in corruption.

“The PCSO management welcomes the initiative of the PACC to investigate the alleged involvement of PCSO officials on corruption issues. PCSO upholds transparency in conducting the operations of the Agency,” PCSO General Manager Royina Marzan-Garma told reporters when sought for a comment.

Garma said the officials of PCSO believe that the result of the investigation will not only clear their names but will also prove the integrity of the agency in providing exciting games to the gaming public and offering responsive and efficient financial and medical assistance to its mandated beneficiaries.

“Despite the corruption issues beleaguering the Office, the officials remain steadfast in their commitment to serve the PCSO and the public with integrity and transparency,” said Garma.

The PCSO serves as the principal government agency for raising and providing funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character.

The Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) is considered the flagship program of the PCSO which was institutionalized in 1995 to provide timely and responsive financial assistance to individuals with health-related problems.

Aside from the IMAP, the PCSO’s other charity programs include the Endowment Fund Program, Institutional Partnership Program, Procurement of Medical Equipment, AFP/PNP Health Facilities Capability Building Project, Calamity Assistance Program, Milk Feeding Program, Integrated Health for Overall Productivity and Empowerment (I-HOPE), and Out-Patient Services Program (Medical and Dental Services), among others.

Last Tuesday, PACC chairperson Dante Jimenez said results of the investigation against the officials of the PCSO will likely be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte in early January.

Jimenez said so far, the PCSO officials are still undergoing lifestyle check.

Pinapa-lifestyle check lang namin. Medyo tinatrabaho na yung desisyon (We’re conducting a lifestyle check [on PCSO officials]. We’re doing our best to come up with a decision),” Jimenez told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Mga early January, naka-table na ‘yun eh (By early January, it’s being tabled to be submitted to the President),” he added.

On August 14, PACC commissioner Greco Belgica said Malacañang had submitted the names of erstwhile and incumbent PCSO board members, managers, and agents who will be subject to investigation.

Belgica said the 15 PCSO officials will undergo lifestyle checks, as they hold “critical” and “important” positions.

Jimenez raised the possibility that the PCSO personnel might face charges for alleged irregularities.

“I don’t know pero under investigation pa (but it’s still under investigation),” he said when quizzed if the PCSO officials will be held accountable for their supposed involvement in corruption.

Sa tingin ko (I guess so),” the PACC chief added when pressed about the possibility of filing charges against the supposedly corrupt PSCO officials.

The PACC was prompted to investigate the alleged corrupt PCSO officials and employees after Duterte on July 26 ordered the suspension of all games operated by the state gaming firm, including lotto, Small Town Lottery (STL), Keno, and Peryahan ng Bayan, because of “massive” corruption.

Duterte, however, lifted on July 31 the suspension order of lotto operations in the country, since the lottery game “remained untainted”.

On August 22, the President also ordered the resumption of STL operations, on condition that the authorized agent corporations (AACs) would comply with the government’s new rules and regulations.

The rest of the PCSO-licensed games remain non-operational until Duterte’s office completes the results of investigation of supposed corrupt practices in the state gaming agency.(By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)