The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has been vindicated in its decision to terminate the Small-Town Lottery (STL) operations of Saturn Gaming Corporation in Southern Leyte and the Province of Cebu. It was determined that Saturn Gaming had violated the rules and regulations outlined in the Agency Agreement.

This confirmation came after the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court Branch 209 granted the PCSO’s Omnibus Motion to reconsider its previous order issued on May 19, 2023, which had allowed Saturn Gaming to continue operating. The court also invalidated the writ of preliminary injunction against the PCSO, dated June 8, 2023.

Additionally, the court denied Saturn Gaming’s motion to hold PCSO in contempt of court, which the company had filed on May 31 of this year.

According to court records, Saturn Gaming had filed a motion to hold PCSO in contempt of court after the PCSO insisted that the gaming operator’s right to operate had already been revoked several months prior, despite the writ of preliminary injunction obtained by Saturn Gaming on May 19.

Presiding Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio of the Mandaluyong Trial Court Branch 209 stated in her decision that the court found the PCSO’s Omnibus Motion to be valid based on several key points.

First, she emphasized that Saturn Gaming Corporation is merely an agent of the PCSO and is bound by the Agency Agreement, which can be terminated at the PCSO’s discretion if the gaming operator violates the agreement’s provisions.

The court further emphasized that Saturn Gaming Corporation does not possess any inherent rights but operates based on the privileges granted by the PCSO.

The court order also highlighted that issuing a writ of preliminary injunction would create a new contract or modify the Agency Agreement.

“The court rightly recognized that it has no authority to modify or create new agreements,” the same order stated.

Moreover, the court referred to the Small-Town Lottery Implementing Rules and Regulations (STL-RIRR), which explicitly state that the PCSO can automatically terminate the Agency Agreement based on specified grounds.

The decision emphasized the finality and binding nature of such termination notices, emphasizing the importance of the STL-RIRR.

PCSO General Manager Mel Robles welcomed the court’s decision, reiterating the organization’s commitment to removing abusive STL operators who violate the terms and conditions of the AAC Agreement.

He warned other STL operators to consider this as a warning that the PCSO is determined to cleanse their ranks and will not hesitate to terminate the operations of those engaged in unlawful practices.

It is worth recalling that the PCSO terminated Saturn Gaming’s authority to operate on March 8, 2023, citing multiple violations of the terms and conditions of the ACC Agreement, as outlined in Board Resolution No. 55 Series of 2023.

However, on May 26, 2023, Saturn Gaming Corporation informed the PCSO of its intention to resume STL operations in Southern Leyte and the province of Cebu, claiming to have obtained a writ of preliminary injunction from Judge Aileen Saquing Agacita of Branch 213.

On June 2, 2023, RTC Branch 213 ordered the case to be assigned to a different judge.

Judge Agacita voluntarily recused herself from the case to dispel doubts of partiality and uphold the integrity of the justice system.

GM Robles emphasized that the favorable outcome of this legal battle solidifies the PCSO’s authority and control over the operation of small-town lotteries. It also affirms its power to revoke and terminate contracts at their discretion in accordance with the applicable regulations.