After closing down the Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO) and small-town lotteries (STL) for corruption, including allegations against retired generals, President Rodrigo Duterte is now striking a very strange tone. The Philippines leader has now given his approval for police toparticipate in gambling operations.

He expressed this opinion at the 118th Police Service Anniversary event, reports local outlet ABS-CBN. “As long as it is not rigged in your favor and you secure it complies with the laws, no corruption [then] I will not begrudge you,” he told the audience.

Incase that wasn’t clear though, the president then backed it up later in the speech. “If it’s clean, you don’t deprive government of money due to the country and the people, [It’s ok with me],” he said to the police audience.

This comes just a day after Sandra Cam revealed the corruption that got the PCSO closed down in the first place. In her words, STL corruption was covered up by retired generals, including one former police general.

To then give police the go ahead to participate in the lotteries reeks of hypocrisy or stupidity. Police can’t be expected to fight the illegal gambling that the PCSO is trying to combat if they are themselves profiting from gambling activities. This is partly why the Philippines has laws banning government employees from playing at Manila area casinos.

But then, what’s the real goal here? Does Duterte care if police end up corrupting themselves? Unlikely. As he told the crowd, all that matters is that the government gets its cut, and then all is forgiven. Doesn’t matter if illegal games of Jueteng because police look the other way.

Duterte was also asked at the event when STL operations might resume. While much still has to be done to investigate Sandra Cam’s claims, including senate committee hearings and potential shakeups amongst PCSO leadership and provincial partners, Duterte’s answer didn’t get into any of that. Instead, he succinctly responded “I don’t know, I still have to think about STL.”

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