BAGUIO CITY (June 19) – Small Town Lottery (STL) operators in this highland city are lurking in the shadows as they again tried their luck with the local legislature here.
Efforts to ram down an STL test run via an approval of the en banc 14-member city council was futile as Monday’s regular sessions time was not enough for the discussion and was deferred to a latter date.
Monday’s session’s agenda number 25 was supposed to be delved on an en banc discussion of the committee on laws report about proponentsf requests to the City Mayor to approve STL test runs last year.
On September 1, 2006 Desita Garcia, manager of the Green2 Corporation asked Acting City Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. to thumb up a test run for Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Corporation (PCSO) STL in the city. Bautista endorsed the said request to the local legislature.
Again on October 13, 2006 another letter by a second proponent named as Alexander Trinidad, president and chairman of D New Ace Builders Corporation requested amendments to a city ordinance on STL operations in the city; an issuance of a resolution condemning jueteng and permanently erasing such via endorsing STL operations in the city.
Not contented with the apparent inaction of the local legislature, another letter on November 19, also last year by Orville M. Roque, president of JOECALF Amusement Corporation was received by the city mayor intending to operate STL here. Again the mayor endorsed it to the city council.
Apparently, after the May 14 polls, proponents are again on their toes trying their luck this time banking on supposedly outgoing members of the city council as their “farewell piece of legislation”. These city councilors include Elmer Datuin Jr., who also lost his vice-mayoralty bid, Datuin and acting vice mayor Leandro Yangot Jr. who also lost in the mayoralty race.
Bautista admitted that the “act” of some local legislators here as “retirement acts” or “pahabol” insinuating some negotiations underway in exchange of a swift city positive action by the city council. “Personally, I am not comfortable (with STL),” he said.
Bautista, the newly elected city mayor said, he wants “all games of chance applications pending in the council to be put on hold.” He said he had made an agreement with council members when he sat as acting city mayor during the second quarter of last year to “sit down” on all applications on games of chances including STL.
Bautista is bewildered why the issue is resurrected.
With only a single session on the way before a new set of city council sits, anti-gambling groups in the city including some clergy and laity may claim momentary victory. # Ace Alegre for NORDIS