Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
The core issue is how much. To the public it is how much should the city coffers of Sorsogon receive monthly from the proceeds of the operation of the small town lottery not the amount remitted by PCSO agent Oceana Sur Gaming Corporation operator of the game of chance for they chose to ignore basic accounting. To those who have the feel of the real intentions it might be a question of how to divide the spoils out of the side operations of the game. So we can ask if the Small Town Lottery a front of the “jueteng” operation in the province? With the spoils the city and other local government units will suffer.
Why only now that gallant men and women of Sorsogon City council took a stand questioning the operation of the game knowing its existence back in 2010. At that time some of them are members of the 4th city council and may have knowledge of its back operations yet remained silent. Was it because the leader of the band commanded them to shut their awful mouth for they were promised a take from the pie? This is not an isolated scenario, same may hold true to other local governments. Not all took the pie, there are honorable who refuses the slice in their mouths, but very few.
It is incredible or I say give them a chance to prove their sincerity as public officials but the going-on may have double intentions, it can be an isolation of the extra take of their political enemies or they are haggling a bigger take from the rumored five thousand pesos they received monthly from the games operator. It is a paltry sum.
To prove their sincerity as in the case of Sorsogon City Council current members cited RA 7160 and the cityhood law RA 8806 which clearly mandates them to oversee the issuance of a gaming permit by resolution before any form of gambling can be operated legally. They miss the provision the last three years reasons that they can be suspect of conniving by blind submission to the previous landlord of city hall. Or for that matter the proceeds were used as election expenses. Is it a real probe that they will do or a message of “give what is really due to our position” forgetting that the city treasury is bleeding. The council members are now dragons spewing their frightening fire. They are in the position of strength.
With three draws a day figures submitted by Oceana Sur Gaming Corporation is a pittance of their gross revenue a day, there is no way also for PCSO to check if the figures are the real, they rely solely on the daily statement of their agent which every children in the park says “binabarat mo masyado”.
If the inquiry is an aid of legislation good, it can recommend measures to track the daily gross receipts of the small town lottery, not only the revenue but compel the operator to observe labor and health regulations viz their employees, this is a clear intention of an honorable member. However if the flow of the members mind leads to “this is not enough for us” or say “we should cut our political enemies extra resources” then the call is but an opera of ironies. We are then at the mercy of our “honorable” public officials.
How then can they deduce that small town lottery daily revenue is purely STL, not divided into a “jueteng” collection is not as hard as the granite wall, evidences abound but as if they don’t know tracking a paper trail, sir, madam, it is as easy as signing a voucher of your monetary claim. Councilor Emmanuel Diolata was right in showing to the hearing committee the evidence that “jueteng” draws side by side with the small town lottery. His evidence was proof as concluded by PCSO that the receipt issued is not the official form of small town lottery.
And who can say among them that they have not seen an STL receipt or perhaps can anyone among them brag that they haven’t place a bet in the number game since the game was re-introduce as small town lottery. Doubtful my dear Tomases.