SC Orders All Trial Courts to Submit PCSO Cases

July 29, 2019

The Supreme Court today ordered all trial court judges and branch clerks of court of the first-and second-level courts nationwide to submit a report to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) on cases pending before their sala involving the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

In OCA Circular No. 133-2019, Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez gave the trial court judges and the branch clerks of court until August 15, 2019 to submit their reports on all cases involving the PCSO and their respective status, whether pending or terminated, filed beginning January 2018 until the present “via email, in Microsoft Excel or Open Office Calc format, accompanied by a certification from the Judge and Branch Clerk concerned, to the email address pcsocases@sc.judiciary.gov.ph.

Court Administrator Marquez issued the directive following his discussions with Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin in view of the “serious allegations of massive corruption involving small town lottery and other gaming franchises issued by the PCSO, some of which have supposedly reached the courts.”

Court Administrator Marquez also issued a related memorandum to the concerned judges of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaluyong City.

PCSO Chairperson Mr. Anselmo Simeon Pinili, in his February 12, 2019 letter to OCA, raised concerns over several cases pending before the different branches of the Mandaluyong City RTC which have issued temporary restraining orders and injunctions against the PCSO. Pinili claimed that the concerned RTC has issued Writs of Preliminary Inuuction (WPI) to ASAs [Authorized Small Town Lottery Agents] whose agency agreements with PCSO were already terminated for non-payment of huge shortfall of sales due to PCSO ─ funds which should be subsidizing the hospital bills of indigents, medicines of cancer patients, treatment procedures for various sickness and other charity assistance of the less privileged.

“Without necessarily interfering with the court’s judicial discretion, please be reminded that the PCSO is the ‘principal government agency’ that has authority to ‘hold and conduct charity sweepstakes races, lotteries, and other similar activities, in such frequency and manner, as shall be determined, and subject to such rules and regulations as shall be promulgated by the Board of Directors. Pursuant to its 2016 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) the ‘PCSO Board shall have the sole discretion and authority to suspend, cancel, revoke or terminate the STL Agency Agreement of any ACC [Authorized Agency Corporations’ on the grounds provided for by the said IRR,’” said Court Administrator Marquez.

Court Administrator Marquez reiterated to the Mandaluyong RTC judges the jurisprudence in Republic v. Judge Caguioa wherein the Court emphasized that ‘[f]or a writ of preliminary injunction to issue, the applicant must establish that (1) there is a clear and unmistakable right to be protected; (2) the invasion of the right sought to be protected is material and substantial; and (3) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage.”