Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with PCSO Chairman Jorge Corpuz and General Manager Alexander Balutan
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang Palace
24 January 2017
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. Our resource persons for today are PCSO chairman Jorge Corpuz and PCSO GM Alexander Balutan. They are here to announce the expansion of the small town lottery, which is meant to generate income for the resources for the medical charity and health programs of the government. 

In compliance with the directive of the President to the AFP, PNP and NBI to support PSO in their efforts against illegal gambling. 

Joining us also today are — from the PCSO are director Loreto Ata, and corporate division chief Pilar Cruz over there. Thank you. 

And also NBI representatives Atty. Jarius Gaspar, okay. And head agent Eric Destor. Thank you. 

Also, AFP representative, Brigadier General Carlo Magno Tabo and PNP representative, police director — deputy director general Ramon Colet Apolinario. Thank you. 

Ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, let us all welcome General Manager Alexander Balutan. 

General Manager Balutan: Good morning. Today, as we formally launch the expanded small town lottery here in Malacañang, we finally draw the line and declare that it’s time to put a stop to illegal gambling. 

It is no secret to anyone that illegal gambling has been the scourge of this country for the longest time, spawning corruption in different agencies and levels of government. 

Today, we declare that the small town lottery is the only legal and authorized numbers game nationwide. To all illegal gambling operators, we offer you both an invitation and a warning: Go legal. 

We expect some form of resistance. We expect that the PCSO will be under fire and undermined by those who benefit most from illegal gambling. We are ready. 

Buoyed by President’s clear directive and full confidence, the PCSO has partnered with the Philippine National Police through a Memorandum of Agreement detailing each agency responsibilities, including clear provisions regarding the use and transfer of funds collected from STL operations. 

Let there be no doubt, this is not only a campaign against illegal gambling but at the very core, a war to curb and eliminate corruption. Funds generated from the expanded STL will contribute a significant amount to support the Duterte administration’s health program, initiatives and medical services geared towards helping the poor and the marginalized. 

New endeavors mean renewed and stronger institutional partnership. We look forward to that. 

As the principal government agency for raising and providing funds for charity, we at the PCSO are confident that the expanded small town lottery will only increase needed funds for the charity services or boost revenues for the government but spearhead a nationwide change that we have all longed for. 

Thank you very much. 


CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Any question? 

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Sir, what assurance can you give the public that this expanded STL lottery will not be used as front by jueteng operators?  

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Jueteng operations? Front? 

Ms. Mendez: Jueteng operators. We know it’s been happening for several years. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Well, again, as General Manager Alex Balutan said, small town lottery or STL will be the only legal numbers game in the country that will generate revenue for the health, medical and charity program of the government. 

As to illegal gambling, we have our partners here, with the PNP, NBI and the AFP for us to stop illegal gambling. 

What is the logic? If there is a small town lottery in the area, there is no corruption. But if there’s no small town lottery in the area or in the provinces or in the cities, there is corruption because there is illegal gambling. 

Illegal gambling, you know, mutates corruption. So the point here is PCSO expanded the small town lottery program. From the original 18 corporations since 2006, starting this year, we will have now 56 corporations that will operate nationwide. 

And what is the difference? If the 18 corporation was able to generate 4.7 billion to the government last calendar year 2015 and in 2016, it became 6.7 — 6.4 billion after we came in on the last three months — October, November, the revenue increased significantly. 

For the 2017, we expect to generate about 27.8 billion minimum in small town lottery out of the 56 corporations. 

So iyan po ‘yung mangyayari. So who is the beneficiary? It’s the government. Who in the government? Our people. Iyong mga nangangailangan ng health program. 

We have several programs po ang PCSO. Our number one program in health is the IMAP, kung tawagin natin, Individual Medical Assistance Program. This is our flagship project. PCSO is the number one and the only charity provider in the government. 

Iyong IMAP namin, that is the Individual Medical Assistance Program, that is our flagship… Ano ba ‘yan? Ayan po ang nagbibigay ng tulong, financial, medical assistance sa lahat ng Pilipinong nangangailangan. Ang PCSO po ay open sa lahat ng Pilipino, ke mayaman ka, ke mahirap ka, as long as lumapit ka sa PCSO at nangangailangan ka ng tulong, lahat po ay tinutulungan ng PCSO. And we are guided by the IRR of our Individual Medical Assistance Program. 

Meron din po tayong hospital equipment donation. Ano po ‘yan? Priority po diyan lahat ng government hospitals. It’s a matter of requesting for what kind of equipment do you need. Example, MRI equipment, Xerox — X-ray machines — Xerox, pang opisina — ayun po. 

We allocate funds for the procurement of hospital — these are mga mabibigat na equipment ng hospital, to government hospitals. And that is being approved by the Department of Health. 

Ang trabaho po ng PCSO is just to allocate funds for the procurement of that high sophisticated hospital equipment. We have, of course, the very known to you, the ambulances donation program. 

For this year, last week, I was just in Iloilo and Antique, we donated about 12 ambulances to the provinces. These all went to the hospitals, government hospitals. 

Meron din pong institutional partnership program ang PCSO, part of IMAP, which is where we tie up with foundations. For example, we support kidney transplant, liver transplant, heart transplant. Iyan po tinutulungan natin with a foundation. 

Meron din po tayong hospital partnership. Eto po ‘yung PCSO we do partnership with hospitals wherein you see now PCSO helpdesk sa mga hospitals. 

Ano po ‘yan? Anong effect niyan? So if you’re kamag-anak ay na-hospital sa — ay nagkasakit at nasa hospital, nandodoon na po. All you have to do is approach our PCSO helpdesk within the hospital, private or government hospitals, and your papers. Na doon na po matutulungan na po kayo in your final billing, ano po ang maitutulong ng PCSO sa inyo?
And, of course, we have the medicine donation program. The point here, let’s go back now. Ano po ang… 

We are promoting now the small town lottery, which is another major revenue source of PCSO. But I would like to go back, I would like to take advantage of this… 

This is a lotto ticket. This is 20 pesos worth. If you buy a lotto ticket, this is 20 pesos. For the 20-peso lotto ticket na binili niyo, 6 pesos or 30 percent goes to charity and you have a chance to become a millionaire. 

Look, for this year, PCSO was able to generate 39.5 billion, out of the games played by PCSO. One of which is lotto, small town lottery, Keno Sweepstakes. It did not come from the taxes coming from the — but it came from the interest of the people to participate and support the charity program of the government. 

So I hope bili kayo, lalo na kayong mga members of the Press Corps. Ako ‘pag nanalo at wala na rin ako sa PCSO dahil milyonaryo na ako. ‘Di ba? So bili po kayo. That is 30 percent. 

You’re giving six pesos. Out of 20 pesos, you’re donating six pesos and it all goes to the government, goes back to the people. 

Reymund Tinaza (Bombo Radyo): Hi, sir. Siguro ‘yung sa… Tumbukin ko na ‘yung jueteng. How can we make ‘yung STL attractive sa mga bettors themselves? Kasi ang problema, hindi… Usually, lalo sa amin sa Northern Luzon, ang problema hindi daw sa gambling operators eh, pero kung hindi sa bettors mismo kasi may piso ka pwede ka ng tumaya ng jueteng, pwede ng manalo ng 400 pesos, dalawang beses pa ang bola. So paano natin maging competitive ‘yung STL sa jueteng na ika nga—? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Okay, I’ll answer you. If jueteng is the illegal numbers game in Luzon, mashao is the illegal numbers game in Visayas, last two is the known illegal numbers game in Mindanao. 

These illegal operators formed a corporation. They formed a corporation, started paying PCSO with their monthly presumptive retail receipt. They become now legal. What do you call that? If you’re in Luzon, that is small town lottery. If you are a mashao operator in Visayas, you become — you pay your taxes to the government, you are a corporation, you’re sanctioned, you are run by PCSO. What do you call that? That is small town lottery. 

Ano ba ‘yung small town lottery? ‘Di ba it was formed to convert illegal gambling into legal gambling. So if you’re paying your monthly quota to PCSO na dating wala… Can you just imagine it started with 18 corporations since 2006, now it became 56 areas plus 37 more that is still vacant for corporations. 

Is it fighting jueteng? It’s not jueteng, you don’t call it jueteng anymore. You call it small town lottery. It’s the only legal numbers game in the country. 

The jueteng mawawala na ‘yan, nandidiyan na ho ‘yung law enforcement eh. It will become a small town lottery. Clear ba? 

Mr. Tinaza: Hindi, sir, pero ‘yun nga kasi galing ako sa… Iyong piso-piso lang kasi, pwede ba sa STL—? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Small town lottery is also piso. You’re collecting as a jueteng but you’re paying your revenue, you’re paying now your monthly quota. 

An example, just an example, from Surigao del Norte. Surigao del Norte, what do they play there? Last two, Swertres. For the past years, we never collected a single cent from Surigao. 

This time, a corporation applied in Surigao. We will run the small town lottery. We’ll collect as last two and pay his revenue to PCSO. What do you call that? That is small town lottery. 

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, last point doon sa PCSO aid sa mga ‘yung mga mahihirap na kababayan na nagkakasakit. Kasi as experience, may mga lumalapit sa amin tapos pina-facilitate namin ‘yung pag-secure ng mga requirements. Gumagastos sila usually ng around 2,000 kasi kailangan ng mga ito ng documents, pamasahe back, to and fro. Tapos eventually ang ibibigay ng PCSO, lalo na sa probinsya, 1,500. Lugi. So how can we streamline then ma-assure na ‘yun talagang…Halimbawa, ‘yung bill is 100,000 tapos gagastos ‘yung pasyenta, 2,000 para sa pag-secure ng mga documents, mga requirements na ang dami, tapos ang bibigay lang 1,500. So how can we…Kumbaga, reform that problem na existing until now. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: That’s why we’re asking you ladies and gentlemen of the Press Corps to support the small town lottery so that we can generate revenue for the charity program of the government. 

We can increase… We can increase the support to medical assistance. It will all go back to the program. 

Joseph Morong (GMA-7): Hi, sir. Good morning po. Sir, what will happen now to the people who are involved in jueteng? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Jueteng? That’s why we’re announcing it… If you’re practicing jueteng, that is illegal. 

That’s why we’re here, that’s why we have our partners, our partners agency with the PNP, NBI because the instruction of the President to stop illegal gambling on the ground and to stop corruption; and for these agencies to support PCSO, to support the expansion of small town lottery. 

Mr. Morong: What will happen nga, sir? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Then if what happened in drugs is… Anong tawag doon? War? O ‘di baka war din. 

You know, what we want…When I assumed as PCSO, the President gave instruction, prepare the ground for war against illegal gambling. You heard that already. 

‘Di ba sinabi na po ng ating Pangulo? The next… The next war will be against illegal gambling, after drugs, he said that. Sinabi na rin po ni Bato. 

But the point here is, PCSO we want the war to be exciting. We don’t want it to be as…Like the war on drugs, we want it to be exciting because we are launching small town lottery. We want it to be interesting to everyone. For the people to participate, support the gain of lottery, small town lottery, para maka-generate tayo ng income. And not ‘yung mga nag-i-illegal, we are just sending out a warning to them that if you want to be still illegal, that’s your problem. Nandidiyan po ang ating mga law enforcement. 

Mr. Morong: Meaning, sir, we will be seeing arrest in the future? 


Mr. Morong: Not only of the — ‘yung mga kubrador but the ones who are heading the — ‘yung financiers? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Yes, tanungin natin ang ating mga law enforcers. That is what we want, PCSO. Because who is the beneficiary of the campaign against illegal — It is PCSO. It’s the government.

Mr. Morong: How much are we losing from jueteng in terms of money that should have been collected if it were legal? 


Mr. Morong: How much money, sir, are we losing from jueteng if it were legal? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: I can’t… Hindi ko, hindi ko masagot ‘yan eh. 

Mr. Morong: So we don’t know how widespread the problem is?

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: But what I can sagot to you is the projection income from small town lottery, because you know, I did not become… 

When I was — I retired as PNP officer, I did not encounter small town lottery. I only encounter small—when I sat down as PCSO. 

Mr. Morong: Last one. Sir, balik ko lang medyo ‘yung statement niyo, medyo excited yata kayo. Pero can we, maybe put it in a little more context in… Ito-tokhang din ‘yung mga illegal gamblers? 


Mr. Morong: Ito-tokhang niyo rin ba ‘yung mga ‘yon? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: It’s up to our law enforcement — PNP. I think that’s the plan now. They came up with a double barrel. Oplan Double Barrel to be elaborated… 

Mr. Morong: Sir, just so… Maybe we call them in para lang operational sense, what’s going to happen? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Maybe we can call on PNP…The point here is the government, the government — the President in his announcement, pronouncement, he is serious to stop illegal gambling. And he called on the AFP and PNP commanders to stop illegal gambling, when you stop illegal gambling, we’re stopping corruption. That’s the logic there. 

Mr. Morong: Sir, baka…Pa-explain lang ‘yung…Mananawagan… 

Rocky Ignacio (PTV-4): Iyong measures against jueteng. Kung paano po ‘yung coordination ng PCSO at saka ng PNP, NBI para doon sa mga dapat arestuhin para matigil na ‘yung jueteng. 

  1. APOLINARIO: Well, the Philippine National Police has been regularly conducting anti-illegal gambling operations kahit na in the previous years. We have made arrest, apprehensions on individuals and personalities who are engaging in illegal gambling operations. 

Now, with this small town lottery in coordination with the PCSO, we will be supporting this program. We are coming up with the Oplan Double Barrel-IG, that is illegal gambling, focusing on operators of illegal gambling programs. That is to support our program on the small town lottery as launched by the PCSO. 

So ganoon pa rin the PNP will still continue making arrest. Of course, we will be coordinating regularly with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the NBI, and the PCSO on who to arrest kasi sabi nga kanina ni Sir Corpuz, the gambling operators, the illegal gambling operators before have now formed corporation and they are joining the government to support the campaign on small town lottery.

Ms. Ignacio: Sir, dati kasi may strike three yata—meron kayong campaign na ganoon eh, pag ‘yung mga regional directors… 

  1. APOLINARIO: We will come up to that…We will come up with guidelines on the performance of our field units to support the STL campaign. 

JP Bencito(Manila Standard): Hi, sir, good morning. Sir, can we expound lang po, how did…Paano po ba na-expound ‘yung from 18 corporations to 56? So…Ang concern lang is with the expanded number ba, meron bang concerns from the PCSO na baka dumami ‘yung — hindi ma-kontrol. Anong measures ang ginagawa natin to look into the revenue generating portion? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Okay, lets go back last year lang. We sat down and with the new Board Director Ata, GM Balutan, last September 13. September 13 of last year.  

The income from STL for that month September was 400 million plus, to be exact 420 million. 

By October, kinausap po naming — noong September 30, kinausap po namin ‘yung mga STL operators the 18, nakiusap, usap, usap. 

October we increased the bet, we will able to generate 900 plus million for October, November 900 plus million, December 900 plus million. 

In 2015, we will able…The STL closed it at 4.7 billion. This year 2016 we closed it as 6.4 billion. The point here is, on the 18. How about if we expand the market to more provinces and cities? 

So more revenue will be generated from the province. Iyong mga nag-i-ilegal, naging legal, they went legal. They formed a corporation. Ilan ho ba ang sumali sa bidding na ginawa ng PCSO which started October 1? And we the board decided last January 11 up to January 10. And they recommended, submitted to the board on January 10. 

Ilan po ba? 224 corporations joined the bidding. Out of that 56 qualified. So that is an indication that there are a lot of illegal…They wanted to become legal, who participated in the revenue generation program the government to support the health program. 

Now, tanong…If we…We are now launching, naglalaro na po ang STL. Do you think STL operators will allow jueteng operators to operate in their area? 

MPC: Yes. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Do you think? 

MPC: Yes. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: When there is a campaign against illegal gambling. And it is the job of STL operators AAC our partners to report? 

MPC: Yes. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: I doubt, because nag-legal na nga sila eh. Okay, now kung meron kayong alam na nag-i-ilegal, that’s for the role, or the job of the law enforcement. 

Marlon Ramos (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good morning, sir. Sir, I think previously may mga critics na who are claiming that STL is actually a failed experiment because when it was launched in 2006, what you are telling us now are the same reasons why the Arroyo administration created STL to stamp out jueteng and other illegal numbers game. But as we know, ‘yung mga ano po corporation, ‘yung mga corporations which are owned by allegedly by jueteng operations—operators themselves, used STL just as a smokescreen, as a cover for their illegal activities. Anong assurance po, what measures are you going to take to ensure ‘yung mga tanong po kanina na iyong this time ‘yung STL would not be used as cover for jueteng? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: What you are saying is what the President announced before small…Every time he mentioned PCSO ‘yung kamay niya gumaganito, it became a front, ‘di ba? STL is a front and then naging illegal and then natatalo ang gobyerno. 

But tingnan ninyo po. Iyong 18 corporations, from an initial 36 million a month na ipinapasok sa PCSO noong September, it became 103 million noong October, 103 million noong November, 103 million noong December. 

The point here is ‘yung revised implementing rules and regulations we enhanced that, tinapangan ‘yan. At no instance should AACs or our partners corporation gave money to…Their job is to generate, to meet us at the PMRR or their monthly quota. And it is the job of PCSO to share that allotment sa mga agencies government agencies natin. 

Mr. Ramos: Sir, can you briefly discuss lang ‘yung binabanggit ninyo na monthly minimum na income na dapat na ibinabayad ng STL company? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Iyong nga, that is the PMRR that’s the secret in small town lottery or the presumptive monthly retail receipts. They have to meet that, that is non-negotiable. 

Example of one province that will give 225 million a month to PCSO — I want to mention that — you take up a big province in the Philippines 225 million a month from zero, from zero. 

Now by February, it’s 225 million. The other provinces 130 million a month. Can you copy? Ikaw ‘yon na corporation would you still do an illegal when your job is to generate millions of pesos for the government? 

Mr. Ramos: Kasi…Sorry, general. Because previously po there are corporations na gumagawa na parang — ang tawag nila doon nagbu-bookies sila. They are the licensed STL operator but at the same time they are also operating illegally underground jueteng ‘yung collection. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Isa pa, ito pala…The key here, to become an STL operator you have to pay a performance cash bond and an authorization fee. 

What is the performance before you be given a deed of authority? What is the performance cash bond? That is one PMRR. 

Example, one province is one PMRR, that’s 225 million plus 25 percent of the PMRR as your authorization fee. What is 25 percent of 225? That’s about 60. Add-in natin, that’s about 280 million then you will start operating hawak na po ng gobyerno ‘yung 280. 

Now, magloloko ka pa kaya? Eh kung magloko ka then that will be forfeited in favor of the government. 

Mr. Ramos: But who decides the minimum monthly quota? For example, if I’m the operator I can set… 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: That is the bid… That is the bid submitted to us by the STL operators. That figure came from them. 

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Chairman, good afternoon doon sa 56 na corporation based dun sa mga binabanggit ninyo, ibig sabihin magka — iba-iba ‘yung mga PMRR nila? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Yes. I’ll give you an example, PMRR is a formula that came in in 2015, that started in 2015. Please note, the STL operators 2013 gave PCSO only 400 million plus, 2013.

2014 it became 500 million plus. 2015 nagkaroon na po ng PMRR or the presumptive monthly return receipts sumipa na ng 4.7 billion, small town lottery. We are just talking of small town lottery here, we are not talking of lotto yet. 

Natapos kami 2016, 6.4, 2017 with the 56 corporations we’re projecting 28.7 billion or 30 billion a year.  

Mr. Ganibe: Follow up…
 Now what is PMRR? PMRR is a presumptive monthly retail receipt or monthly quota. How do you solve that? It is 30% of the voting population of an area with a minimum bet of P2.50 times 3 draws per day times 30 days that is the minimum PMRR per province. 

Mr. Ganibe: Follow up lang po, Chairman. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: I repeat 30% of the voting population times your bet of P2.50 times 3 draws per day times 30. If you know… Iyan po ang PMRR so it varies in different areas. 

Mr. Ganibe: Kung bawat corporation ay may kanya kanyang PMRR at binabanggit ninyo dapat sa isang buwan talagang makamit nila iyon or kung hindi matatanggalan sila ng…. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Forfeited ‘yung kanilang cash bond.  

Mr. Ganibe: Forfeited ‘yung cash bond. So hindi po ba kung babasahin natin na ‘yung dating tinitingnan natin itim na uwak at pininturahan natin ng puti ay tanggap na natin puting uwak? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Illegal? Is it bad to be legal at this time? If you want to be legal and support the government. Is it bad? ‘Di ba? Iyong itim na uwak gusto niyang maging mabait? Nag-legal siya suportahan niya ‘yung gobyerno? Masama ho ba iyon? 

Mr. Ganibe: Hindi po ba in the process para makamit nila ‘yung PMRR nila ay they will sort to some kind of illegal para makamit lang ‘yung kanilang target for the government? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Then we have a mechanism to check on that. Then we will terminate your contract. You invested 50 million plus and then you will just lose it for illegal gambling and we’ll file charges against them. The PNP will file charges against them. 

The point here is ang daming nag-apply na gustong maging legal. Mag-i-ilegal pa kaya iyon mga iyon? 

Henry Uri (DZRH): GM, magandang tanghali po. Magkano ho ang tamaan ngayon sa STL? 


Mr. Uri: Magkano ang tama sa STL? Magkano ang tatamaan sa STL? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: If you bet one peso, you gain 800, the same as jueteng. The same as jueteng. You can bet one peso. You can bet 25 cents. You can bet. 

Collection mo jueteng. You are a corporation. Laro mo jueteng. Gawa. Your collection is jueteng. Gawa. But you are a small town lottery. 

Mr. Uri: Ang tunay na labanan ho sa ilalim ‘yung STL ay sinasabayan po ng mga jueteng operators ang tawag po nila ‘yung bookies. Iyong iba ho ay nagka-kangaroo. Ibig sabihin kung saan-saan lang nakatago ‘yun ang hinahabol ng PNP. Ano ho ang assurance na hindi na ho ito mangyayari at matitigil na ho ‘yung pagtangkilik dito ng mga tao sa bookies na ito? Ano ang inyong itataya Chairman? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: That’s why we are launching small town lottery to counter illegal gambling. Now ‘yung bookies kaya ‘pag tumama may pambayad kaya? Eto may pambayad. Small town lottery. These are corporations. These are partners of PCSO. 

Ang mapapahiya dito ‘pag hindi kami makabayad, ang pahiya rito gobyerno, PCSO. We are putting PCSO at peace here. So papayagan ko kaya? 

Mr. Uri: Kung ito ho ay kampanya ninyo ilang buwan o taon ninyo binibigyan ang inyong sarili na masasawata ito ang mga illegal na ito? At kung hindi ito masawata ano ho ang inyong itataya? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: What do you mean itataya? Tataya ako?  

Mr. Uri: Ano ho ang… What’s at stake for you? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: I did not apply for this job. Is this what you are calling or —? Now, ang punto, we’ll just do our best. My job, the instruction given to me by the President, is to generate revenue for this government. 

And he needs money for this government and that’s what PCSO is doing. We are doing it through legal means and that is launching the small town lottery. Now if you, you are not happy with the way PCSO is delivering our service, you call the shot. 

We welcome… We welcome all criticism. We welcome what we want to give is to bring it back to the Filipino people.

Vanz Fernandez (DZRJ): Sir, good afternoon. I would like to ask. Kasi lalo na yung mga… You are against the illegal jueteng. My question is paano po ‘yung mga kumikita na maliliit na tao natin na umaasa sa pangkabuhayan nila sa araw-araw? Dahil sa jueteng kumikita sila eh. Ano ang gagawin po natin sa kanila? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: The small town lottery is a legal corporation. Iyong  mga kumikita na iyan siguro ngayon empleyado na ngayon ng small town lottery operators. 

You know, small town lottery will provide employment to kubradors. It will pave revenue to the government. It will stop illegal gambling and it will be a tool to educate people to stop corruption. 

That’s the purpose of STL. Iyong mga problema mo mga mahihina, empleyado na po iyan. They will become STL operators. Empleyado. 

Ms. Fernandez: Automatic, sir. Automatic? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: I am very confident. Kung sino nga ‘yung alam ninyo na nagbo-bookies, ay ‘yan din ‘yung mga nag-apply. Sila din ‘yung naging legal. Legal na ngayon. Ayon. 

Ms. Fernandez: Sir, kala ko galit kayo eh. 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Lahat ‘yon hindi na gambling lords they are now partners of the government sa PCSO. Mas maganda dahil kikita na ang gobyerno. So walang huhulihin mas maganda. 

Leo Palo (DZME): Hi, sir. Good morning, sir. Categorical ano lang — statement lang. So mashao, Swertres, last two, jueteng, legal na po? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Nope. That’s illegal. If you are small town operators that is legal. Small town lottery is the only legal numbers game in the country. 

Now if you are a jueteng operator, you form a corporation, you collect jueteng but you are paying taxes, you are now a partner of the government. 

Mr. Palo: So join a — 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: That is small town lottery. Malinaw ba? 

Mr. Morong: Sir, game. So, sir, ibig sabihin ninyo ‘yung mga jueteng lord –? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: They are now STL operators?

Mr. Morong: So wala na po kayong huhulihin? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Tingnan natin. Kayo nagsasabi may bookies, may jueteng. Kayo nagsasabi. Di huhulihin nila. 

As far as PCSO is concerned, we are promoting the product of PCSO which is small town lottery. 

Mr. Morong: But how do you avoid? For example, jueteng lord A, nag-apply ng whatever you called that? Is this a franchise from PCSO?  

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: Small town lottery. 

Mr. Morong: Now meron siyang in-o-operate na STL but meron siyang sideline na jueteng. How do you avoid that? 

CHAIRMAN CORPUZ: I will terminate his contract. Confiscate his cash bond and file charges against him. 

You lose 225 million, your PMRR and your 25% authorization fee. What kind of a businessman are you? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We would like to thank the PCSO Chairman for this very passionate presentation.

We would like to begin the session with the presidential spokesperson by expressing — by addressing the — by expressing the sympathies of the President and the Filipino people.

“We wish to take this occasion to express the condolences and sympathies of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Filipino people to Mrs. Choi Kyung-jin, the widow of Mr. Jee Ick Joo, the South Korean national who met untimely death while in police custody. We apologize to the South Korean government and people for this irreparable loss. But we commit the full force of the law to ensure that justice is served and not delayed.To the Korean people, please accept our sincerest and deepest regrets.” 

To proceed, statement on Moody’s forecast on the Philippine economic growth in 2016: 

We welcome the most recent report released by global debt watcher, Moody’s, stating that the Philippine economy likely grew by 7.05 percent in 2016, which is higher than the government’s full year growth target of 6 to 7 percent. 

We also take note that the main driver of this continued growth is the increase in domestic demand, private consumption and expansion in investment. 

This is consistent with the government’s effort to reach a target of 6 to 7 percent growth for the whole year of 2016 to 2017. 

The Palace assures the Filipino people that this continued growth will be sustained through boosting infrastructure spending, creating more jobs, easing the cost of doing business, and reducing the poverty incidence rate. 

The President’s economic stance is clear and consistent: to make economic growth not only sustainable but also inclusive. 

Next, statement on the Human Rights Victims Claims Board: The HRVCB is set to distribute partial compensation to the first 4,000 victims of human rights violations during martial law. 

The decision to release initial monetary reparations to human rights victims is welcome news to us all. Last January 19, 2017, the Board presented to the President their decision to release initial payments of 4,000 eligible claimants. To date, the Board has already arbitrated a total of 30,027 claims. 

We are open to questions. 

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Good afternoon, sir. 


Ms. Salaverria: Sir, how is the Malacañang treating the death of the Korean businessman? Does it consider it an isolated incident or a part of a more systemic problem within the PNP because in the past, there have been reports of police involvement in killings quoting anonymous sources? So how is the…Does the Palace consider this incident an isolated one? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA:  Let’s just go back to the President’s campaign theme: To stop crime, corruption and illegal drugs. 

And apparently, this is a… This particular situation indicates that there is truly a depth of corruption within the government system. 

Ms. Salaverria: By the government system, you mean the PNP as well? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Within the whole government system and including the PNP, yes. 

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, the President has said he continues to trust the PNP chief — 


Ms. Salaverria: What is the basis for this? Some sectors are — some people are saying the PNP chief appears untouchable. Is this the case with — ? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: No, I think we need to see it in a larger light. The PNP General, Director is part of the President’s team and he simply came home and he simply became the head of this particular government structure. 

So the President trusts implicitly and that’s understandable, he is part of his team. And whatever is surfacing at this particular stage is simply part of the operations. 

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, last na. Did the President give new instructions to the PNP Chief to look into the possibly deeper problem within the PNP with regard to the involvement of police officers in — ? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I’m sure they understand the situation more completely than we do. Thank you. 

Ms. Salaverria: Thank you. 

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, do you agree to the floated idea of Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that what happened to the Korean businessman is a part of a conspiracy to discredit the PNP and ultimately the Duterte administration? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We cannot speculate on that matter. That is his opinion. 

Mr. Tinaza: So you still stand by the belief that there is actually a systemic, deep corruption and crime within the institution? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let us adhere to the assumption that matters need to be done with regularity. Okay, thank you. 

Mr. Tinaza: Sir, last point. Sir, some lawmakers, especially Senator Leila de Lima, accused the President that he himself and PNP General Bato created the impunity among their ranks. Now, we have this ‘tokhang for ransom’ controversy. Can you comment? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think that’s over imaginative. 

Mr. Tinaza: Thank you, sir. 

Mr. Ramos: Follow up lang, sir, sa tanong ni Reymund. Some lawmakers, some of them maybe are even allies of the President, said that the President’s unequivocal support for the police, particularly for PNP Chief Dela Rosa, emboldened erring policemen committing crimes. How do you respond to that? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t know if it emboldens people who are committing crimes. 

But certainly, his trust in the director is well placed considering the fact that he is the one who is part of the President’s agenda in fighting crime and fighting corruption within the system. 

Mr. Ramos: Does Malacañang accept the observation of many lawmakers and human rights advocates that there is an existing culture of impunity in the Philippines, especially right after the President was sworn in last year? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I think it’s — not unfair. The culture is there, the culture is there. There is… The culture is there and it was existing even before the President came in. 

In fact, that’s exactly why he came in to address that particular culture. 

Mr. Ramos: Sir, the representatives from the Philippines and China have agreed on at least 30 projects — 


Mr. Ramos: — worth several billions of dollars. Is there a quid pro quo in terms of the assistance given by the Chinese government to the Philippines? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, this is part of the ODA. Not that there is any quid pro quo but it is part of the China’s commitment to support the Philippines’ situation. 

Mr. Ramos: And in turn, what is our government or our country’s giving in return? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: As far as I know, as far as I know, that there is a flourishing of business-to-business efforts. 

Mr. Ganibe: Hi, Sec, magandang hapon. Sir, anytime today or sa mga susunod na araw, nakatakdang ilabas ng Ombudsman ‘yung kanilang resulta ng kanilang imbestigasyon at maaaring magsampa ng kaso sa Sandiganbayan kaugnay doon sa Mamasapano incident two years ago. Alam natin before, bago mag-eleksyon naglabas na ang DOJ ng kanilang finding na karamihan doon sa masasampahan ng kaso ay mga miyembro ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front and meron tayong isinusulong na usapang pangkapayapaan sa Moro groups, Bangsamoro sa Mindanao. Ano po ang nakikinita ng Palasyo dito sa posibleng paglalabas ng warrants of arrests sa ibang mga miyembro o opisyal ng MILF kaugnay ng Mamasapano? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: The case is now with the Office of the Ombudsman and she’s the one who’s — they’re the one who’s constitutionally mandated to handle the matter. So let’s just watch the proceedings as it unfolds. 

Mr. Ganibe: Makakaapekto kaya ito doon sa ating gumaganda nang relasyon sa MILF at isinusulong na peace process? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: These are two separate cases, these are separate cases and they should be treated separately. The peace process should not be affected by criminal acts. 

Mr. Ganibe: Papaano po natin magagamit ‘yung ating koneksyon with the MILF, magandang koneksyon, para doon sa — mapanagot ‘yung mga dapat managot na miyembro ng MILF kung meron mang kasama doon sa ipapaaresto? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Let’s leave it at that. Let’s leave it… Let’s just let the proceedings unfold, okay, and let’s see how it goes.  

Pia Ranada (Rappler): Sir, ‘yung ceasefire po, okay lang? Sir, the President had a meeting yesterday with the AFP and PNP officials. Was the ceasefire with the NPA rebels discussed? And may we get an update on the status of the ceasefire given the Cotabato clash? And the NPA, the NDFP claiming that the clash involved NPA rebels and the military. What does the AFP chief say about it and is there any, will the ceasefire of the military be affected given the clash? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: You have several points to your question. Which would you like me to refer to? 

Ms. Ranada: The condition — the status of the ceasefire given the meeting yesterday. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Given the meeting yesterday. Well, regarding the meeting yesterday, it was a closed door meeting. So we don’t have—we do not have details regarding that. 

But regarding the operations— regarding the incident in Cotobato, the DND continues to refer to it as a — it was just part of a police operation and should not affect any of the peace process talks. 

Ms. Mendez: Good afternoon, sir. 


Ms. Mendez: May we get the Palace reaction, regarding the statement of a US White House spokesman on— that the US will stop China from taking over the South China Sea? With the President’s pivot to China, how will this affect our position? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Mr. Tillerson’s comment was simply opinion, it is not policy. 

Ms. Mendez: Sir, now it has become a statement of the White House spokesman now that President Trump is in office. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: It still needs to be policy. 

Mr. Morong: Sir, may statement po kahapon ‘yung Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, that President Duterte is going to China in May for the bilateral talks? Will you confirm that? 


Rose Novenario(Hataw): Good morning, sir. Sir, pwede po kay General Balutan po. 


Ms. Novenario: Kasi late ako, sorry. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Would you like me to just finish first, then you can refer to him later. 

Ms. Novenario: Sige po. 

Mr. Bencito: Sir, I would just like to confirm news reports that MILF vice chair Ghazali Jaafar for was appointed by the President to the BTC, Bangsomoro Transition Commission? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: We don’t have the official word regarding that. Okay, so nothing has reached my desk. Thank you.

Mr. Bencito: Lastly, sir, there was a SWS survey released today. The fourth quarter survey wherein hunger is at 13.9 percent of families, moderate hunger is 10.9, and severe hunger is 3 percent. Sir, what is the comment of the Palace on this latest survey? And what is the administration is doing at least to change these figures. If I am not mistaken, it has studied in the past quarters? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Right. We have two points regarding that matter. Number one, it’s a gentle reminder that the government needs to continue to work double time to implement socio-economic reforms. 

Remember that the President administration—present administration has only been in place for about six months. It needs to address long standing economic backlogs. 

However, the public sentiment shown by this recent SWS survey is due to a number of factors. 

One, was food price inflation because of weather disturbances and which happened before the survey was conducted; and, of course, seasonal demand of food items during the Christmas holidays. 

So number one, we’d like to assure… We’d like to assure the nation, the people that the President — this is the inclusive prosperity is definitely part of the President’s agenda. And  it is also admitted that there’s a lot of groundwork to be done considering the fact that the administration is new. 

However, all efforts are being poured towards this. And inclusive prosperity is part of the President’s agenda. 

Mr. Morong: Sir, ‘yung sa Mamasapano lang. With regard to the peace process with the MILF and I’m talking about the complete procedure ‘no, sa process, sir. That was a very critical point the Mamasapano encounter with regard to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic law because there are questions about the sincerity of the MILF and all of that. How do you then move this process forward while simultaneously providing justice for the families of the SAF 44, sir?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I would say simply that we are taking parallel efforts regarding that. One, is to address the justice issue and the other is to address the peace issue on a parallel tracks. 

Mr. Morong: Meaning, you would like to see, sir, some accountability on the part of the MILF and, of course, the government ‘coz there are MILF members who were killed also? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Yes. We want to see justice served. 

Thank you very much.