Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has shut down the government-owned Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and all lotteries it operates due to alleged widespread corruption within its ranks.
Duterte ordered the police and military to shut down the PCSO as well as its many outlets nation-wide on Friday, adding that he would not abide by any potential court orders to resume operations.
“The ground is massive corruption,” Duterte said in a video message posted on Facebook.
“I will not honor any order from any court stopping us or enjoining us to stop our desire to go into a massive investigation for the massive corruption that is existing in the PCSO.
“It’s all cheating and the contracts were like crafted in favor of corruption and to favor other corporations and people. I will not allow it.”
Duterte didn’t provide any further detail on the alleged corruption, but spokesman Salvador Panelo told media over the weekend that around 60% of PCSO’s revenues have been lost due to corruption.
“All players, all participants of the gaming corporations are involved, including even the court who issues injunctions in favor of these operations,” Panelo told CNN Philippines. “The President will reveal the modus operandi of those people involved in due time.”
The PCSO has seen its revenues rise significantly over the past two years, including a 34% increase to Php52.98 billion in 2017 and another 20% to Php63.56 billion in 2018. Under Philippines law, 30% of PCSO revenues must go to various health care and charity organizations each year, however there have been various accusations in recent times that funds have not always been used for their designated purpose.