SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga, Philippines—Governor Lilia Pineda and her husband, Rodolfo, whose names appear on at least three lists of suspected jueteng lords and operators, are not attending the hearing Thursday (October 14) of the Senate blue-ribbon committee on the illegal-numbers game and the state-supervised Small Town Lottery.
Pineda told reporters on Wednesday she would not attend the hearing because she has not received any invitation from the Senate committee.
Her schedule for Thursday includes the inauguration of a 50-bed hospital built by the Mexico town government at 9 a.m., which coincides with the start of the hearing.
In the afternoon, she is expected to go to Tagaytay City to attend the planning session of the capitol’s department heads.
Trip with GMA
But Joel Mapiles, the capitol’s public information officer, said the governor is leaving for South Korea today together with Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the invitation of a humanitarian group there. The trip, he said, was arranged in July.
The list submitted by Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz to the Senate identified Pineda as “jueteng lord or operator.”
Asked why the governor’s husband was not on the list, Cruz said it was Rodolfo who now runs STL in Pampanga.
Rodolfo, known as Bong, has been elusive after the 1995 jueteng scandals. Although cleared of charges of corrupting public officials, he attended the 2000 and 2005 jueteng investigations held by the Senate.
The 2000 probe led to the ouster of President Joseph Estrada while the 2005 inquiry checked on the involvement of the immediate relatives of Arroyo.
Rodolfo’s name does not appear as an incorporator of Suncove Corporation, which the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) authorized to operate STL in Pampanga. He had denied financing jueteng or STL.
Jueteng in Pampanga made around P300 million in monthly gross sales, according to reports from the Philippine National Police’s directorate for intelligence. Suncove reported gross sales of P238.7 million from January to August 2010, the PCSO said.
In today’s Senate hearing, the PCSO is expected to argue against the proposal to devolve the supervision of STL to local governments.
In a position paper submitted on October 8 to the Senate, PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II said the agency “is the principal government agency which has the authority to hold and conduct sweepstakes races, lotteries and other similar activities by virtue of [Republic Act No.] 1169, as amended, otherwise known as the PCSO charter.”
“The proposal to authorize the local government units ... to operate STL will destroy the very essence for which PCSO was created,” Rojas said in the position paper.
Tonette Orejas, Phil. Daily Inquirer