The plot thickens


As far as I know, STL operators are granted franchises to operate in a province or city only after it has secured favorable endorsements from the local government unit. That’s the reason the local STL operator in Iloilo City never got to operate openly outside the territorial boundaries of Iloilo City since the numbers game was revived five years ago.

But in the case of Around D’ World Gaming Corp. owned by Eddie Gonzales and Iggy Arroyo, it pulled strings just as the Arroyo administration was about to step down and managed to obtain a PCSO board resolution granting the entity a franchise to operate in the Province of Iloilo on May 19, 2010.

This interesting discovery surfaced today when I was interviewed by anchorman Eric John Pamplona of DYSI Super Radyo on the issue of the pending “application” of the gambling company to operate in the province of Iloilo. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has scheduled a public hearing on Friday, Oct. 22, supposedly to elicit the views and opinions of Ilonggos on whether or not STL will be allowed to operate in the province.

It is a classic case of putting the cart ahead of the horse. Around D’ World is seeking local endorsements AFTER it was given a franchise to operate. This discovery only bolstered my long-held view that Defensor, provincial administrator Raul Banias, Arroyo and Gonzales had already closed the deal even before the then governor-elect could assume office. If there are “midnight appointments,” then the franchise to Around D’ World is a “midnight deal” of the Arroyo administration with the incoming Defensor administration.

Arroyo, who is also known as “Jose Pidal”, pounced on the opportunity presented by the narrow victory of Defensor to bring jueteng to Iloilo province, considered a first-class market because of its size and economic status. He could not wait for Defensor to take his oath because by then, PCSO would have been under new management. So with the help of Dr. Raul Banias, Arroyo and Gonzales sealed the transaction with Defensor.

Interestingly, it was a press release from the hacker/plagiarist that exposed this missing link to the equation. I had not known about the PCSO franchise until today. Now I’m more than convinced that the so-called “consultation” is nothing more than a “zarzuela” being played out by Defensor and Banias to mislead the Ilonggo public that the transaction is transparent and above-board. Too bad for them, the evidence is pointing the other way.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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