The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called on all the Local Government Units (LGU’s) to respect the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) 8th Division affirming the legality of the continued operations of the numbers game of Globaltech Mobile Online Corporation (Globaltech) Peryahan ng Bayan.
The advisory dated June 17, 2019, signed by DILG Secretary Eduardo Año informed all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors and DILG Regional Directors that Peryahan ng Bayan numbers game under Globaltech shall continue operations but only within the three number games sanctioned by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The three games allowed under the Deed of Authority (DOA) issued by the PCSO to Globaltech are the Peryahan Hulog Holen, Peryahan Throw Coins, and Peryahan Gulong ng Swertes. Games conducted beyond the DOA are illegal, according to the DILG advisory.
Despite the public knowledge on the court rulings upholding the legality of the Peryahan ng Bayan numbers game of Globaltech, tarpaulins assailing its continued operations have sprouted in strategic locations in the city.
The advisory was apparently issued to clarify the conflicting interpretations of LGU officials over the operation of Globaltech in their respective jurisdictions.
The CA in a decision rendered on January 14, 2019 struck down the petition of the PCSO to review the order of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 161, Pasig City that granted Globaltech Mobile Online Corporation (Globaltech), operator of peryahan games a status quo anti-order (SQAO) and referral of its dispute for arbitration.
According to the CA decision, Globaltech has established that it has a “present and unmistakable right to be protected”, that PCSO violated its right and there is a “special and paramount necessity” for the issuance of the SQAO to prevent serious damage.
The SQAO, according to the decision was simply to preserve the DOA granted by the PCSO to Globaltech as its Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC) to operate peryahan games in Bohol on April 2, 2014. The DOA was terminated by the PCSO Board of Directors by virtue of Resolution No. 51 series of 2016 effective February 17, 2016.
Globaltech claimed that the DOA issued by the PCSO is valid until 2022.
Arbitrate before termination
Although the PCSO may terminate the DOA, it must comply with certain requirements under the contract and should not wantonly disregard its provisions tantamount to undue deprivation of property without due process, according to the CA decision.
“The PCSO is not vested with the blanket authority to unilaterally terminate the contract without warning and in violation of the provisions thereof. The PCSO skirted the provisions in the DOA and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on prior notification and submission and settlement of disputes through arbitration.”
A copy of the contract obtained by the Chronicle showed in section 21 paragraph 2 that in the event amicable settlement is not reached, any dispute including termination shall be finally settled by arbitration in accordance with Republic Act (RA) No. 9285 known as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004.
The contract was signed by PCSO General Manager Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas ll and Globaltech President Jose Gregorio R. Aquiling on April 2, 2014.
The Chronicle learned that the PCSO did not file a Motion for Reconsideration (MR) against the CA decision.
Rule of law
The PCSO has suffered a string of adverse rulings from the courts in relation to its termination of the DOA entered between its AAC’s in Bohol without resolving first its disputes through arbitration.
As a result, there are apparently three Authorized Agent Corporations in Bohol – Globaltech, PF3, and Scorpio. According to sources, PF3 in now engaged in talks with the PCSO with regards to their cash bond and is inactive while the remaining AAC’s are engaged in a turf war to corner a chunk of an estimated daily revenue of more than P2 million.
Earlier, on August 22, 2018, RTC Branch 211, Mandaluyong City granted a writ of certiorari and prohibition to PF3 Games and Entertainment Corporation directing the PCSO, Bohol Branch Office, Officer-in-charge (OIC) Roberto Pio Cinco to “cease and desist” from implementing the termination order as well as the forfeiture of the cash bond of PhP200 million.
The court ruled that the PCSO failed to comply with the terms and conditions under the Deed of Authority that provides an arbitration clause in accordance with Republic Act 9285 known as the Alternative Dispute Resolution of 2004 in cases where disputes could not be settled amicably.
On December 3, 2018, The Department of Justice (DOJ) Task Force on Special Cases said that Peryahan ng Bayan numbers game operation “is still duly covered by a valid and existing authority/license from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).”
The CA 8th Division, RTC 161, Pasig City and RTC 211 of Mandaluyong City all recognized the validity of the arbitration clause in the agreement between Globaltech and PCSO before the termination of the DOA to operate STL.
A recent complaint for illegal gambling filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Bohol District Office against Globaltech before the Provincial Prosecutors Office was shelved on January 19, 2019, after the release of the CA ruling.
The PNP-Bohol has been under pressure by both operators to enforce the law on the operation of swertres in the province with Scorpio and the PCSO expressing dissatisfaction over the inability of the local police to arrest the continued alleged illegal presence of Peryahan ng Bayan booking stations.
The PNP is maintaining a hands-off stance in the continued operation of Peryahan ng Bayan citing a memorandum reminding PNP personnel of its existing policy on anti-illegal gambling campaign plan “Operation High Roller” to avoid future civil/administrative cases against PNP operating units.
The memo dated October 22, 2018, was signed by Police Colonel ( then Senior Superintendent), Regional Chief Directorial Staff, Ronald O. Lee “by command” of Police Brigadier General (then Chief Superintendent) for Region VII Debold Sinas. (Chito M. Visarra)