THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and not the Philippine National Police is the key to stopping jueteng operations, Journal sources yesterday said.
Jueteng operators reportedly use the state-sanctioned small town lottery in their illegal operations,
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier appointed retired Police Director Jose Jorge Corpuz of Philippine Military Academy Class 1982 and retired Marine Major General Alexander Balutan of PMA Class 1983 as PCSCO chairman and general manager respectively. Officials said that the two were given instruction by the President to see to it that the PCSO will not make a “killing” out of the well-organized illegal gambling activities using STL as cover for their illicit trade.
There have been speculations in the past that the jueteng turf war has triggered a number of bloody shooting incidents in many parts of Luzon resulting in the killing of many jueteng lieutenants. It is also a known fact that any all-out campaign by the PNP against illegal gambling, even to the point of relieving police chiefs and commanders, every week won’t succeed unless the PCSO fully addresses the problem of STL being used as a “front” for jueteng.
Journal Group sources said that during his term, former Interior and Local Government Secretary-turned Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas wanted the head of a former Police Regional Office 3 director over their “differences” in the campaign against jueteng.
The same police general who retired with the rank of Police Director once told the Journal Group that they were facing a predicament when it comes to ridding illegal numbers’ games in Central Luzon since witty operators of these illegal activities are using the PCSO-run games as a cover.
Other top PNP officials shared the general’s belief and said the same is also happening in other parts of the country.
The official then cited the result of an in-depth study on the issue concerning the use of STL as a “front” for jueteng.
Before he was relieved as PRO3 director, the official spearheaded a summit at the PRO3 headquarters in Camp Olivas to thresh out the problems concerning the existence of illegal numbers’ game operators using STL as a cover.
The summit was attended by the general manager of the PCSO, the DILG and National Police Commission’s regional directors, STL operators and all concerned police chiefs in Central Luzon.
The official said that among the issues discussed were the existence of bookies operations and violations of PCSO Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) such as non-usage of prescribed PCSO “papelitos” making it difficult for the accounting of bet collections.
He said that a consensus was reached that by December 15, 2012, all STL Agent Corporations should have strictly adhered to the IRR. However, he said that after the set deadline, they noticed continued infractions of the IRR in Central Luzon prompting them to make more arrests and file charges in court.
Unfortunately, the PRO3 operations caught the attention of the PCSO leadership, which in a December 26, 2012 memorandum admonished the PNP that anti-illegal gambling laws do not apply to STL employees.
The Journal Group learned that the PRO3 was reminded of the Napolcom Resolution 2006-116 which states that “PNP will not arrest anybody engaged in any activity within the scope of the STL project of the PCSO”. The Napolcom resolution states that the PNP can only effect arrest on the following conditions: Upon complaint of PCSO and its agents, Local Executives (LCEs) religious, NGOs, etc. against illegal STL operations.
The now retired police general previously told the Journal Group that their validations revealed that there are apparent isolated “parallel illegal numbers game” operating similar to ‘jueteng’ using STL as cover wherein some authorized STL bet collectors are engaging in dual collection of bets where one is remitted to the PCSO and the other to the supposed financier of the illegal numbers’ game.
The practice makes it more difficult for authorities to crack down this illegal activity as evidence by the dismissal of almost all the cases filed against them.
“This illegal numbers game continue to flourish since the odds of winning in bookies is higher because the winning combination is drawn from 1-37 which is identical to jueteng while STL winning combination is drawn from 1-40,” the source said.
The official said that they have discovered that bets in bookies operation yield higher winnings as compared to STL. In bookies: a P1 bet wins P900 while in STL, a P1 bet wins P800. A “cobrador” earns a 20-25 percent commission from his total remittances while in STL, a “cobrador” only earns 10 percent.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, who visited Pampanga a few years ago, said that the illegal numbers game is no longer the jueteng which we know. It is actually patterned after STL, which is one of PCSO’s legal games. Hence, there is no more “jueteng”, but clearly there is still illegal gambling going on. Worse, this illegal gambling takes cover under the legal blanket of the STL.”