No green light for PCSO mobile betting systems deal

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MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino-Chinese joint venture has failed in its attempt to compel the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to implement a contract for it to provide information and communications technology systems that enable mobile betting for the PCSO lotto games.

Judge Rizalina Capco-Umali, Branch 212 of the Mandaluyong Regional Magistrate’s Court, during a May 19 hearing on a motion for mandamus filed by SmartInfo Philippines Inc. and China LotSynergy Enterprises Ltd., advised the “joint venture not incorporated” that she was about to continue leaving for several weeks and told them to wait for her return or transfer the plea to the RTC executive judge for resolution.

The joint venture has filed a petition against PCSO, including Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board Royina Garma, in court seeking the Integrated Sales Agency Agreement (ISAA) implemented by PCSO .

The ISAA was signed by PCSO Chairman of the Board, Anselmo Pinili, on April 12, 2021.

The PCSO’s legal department, however, cautioned the board against implementing the ISAA, citing what it described as serious legal and technical issues.

Among the issues raised by the PCSO’s legal department was the alleged failure to follow due process as a public-private partnership project with a private sector joint venture partner. As a PPP, the National Economic Development Authority must approve the project.

In a June 14, 2021 memorandum, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that while the PCSO had the authority to determine the adoption of information technology systems or platforms, he urged the agency to “obtain a favorable finding” from the Office of Government Counsel on technical, operational, expertise and financial discretion issues that the OGCC has raised.

The OGCC, in a letter dated July 13, 2021, said it “defers to the management of the PCSO and the discretion of the management of the Board of Directors” to resolve the issues.

The OGCC also noted that the PCSO confirmed that Pinili had signed a supposedly “duly performed” contract with the joint venture.

PCSO officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the five-year, P5.8 billion contract with Pacific Online Systems Corp.’s joint venture Philippine Gaming Management Corp. and US-based International Lottery and Totalizator Systems. , Inc., for the installation of mobile lotto betting systems rendered SmartInfo-China LotSynergy’s systems unnecessary or even redundant.

PCSO director Ramon Seneres reportedly lobbied for the implementation of ISAA.

As chair of the PCSO’s Oversight Committee on Product Management and Development and Marketing on Business Proposals, Seneres is asking the PCSO’s Board of Directors for authority to oversee the implementation of the agreement.

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