INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno has vowed to go after illegal gambling after revealing he was being bribed of millions of pesos by individuals allegedly connected with gambling lords even before he assumed the DILG post.
Sueno warned he will implement anti-illegal gambling policies with an iron fist even as he assured the public he will shun all efforts of bribery under his command.
Reports reaching his office said certain individuals are allegedly using his name to collect bribe money from illegal gambling operators.
“Ako talaga, I don’t want to receive anything from illegal gambling. So for the local government units and the Philippine National Police (PNP), expect that we will be strict in the implementation of anti-illegal gambling policies,” Sueno stressed.
Sueno added that the proliferation of illegal gambling could be stopped if the LGUs and the PNP work hand in hand with a clear mandate of combating illegal gambling.
“Even before I became DILG Secretary, may pumunta na sa akin na taga-Maynila (asking) if I want to accept (bribe.)
“Sabi ko, I don’t want to accept, I don’t even want to entertain you,” he said.
Sueno said the bribe offers continued during his first week as DILG chief and despite the persistence of the offers, he did not accept any money.
This was why he was disturbed to find out that someone “collects” bribe money “on his behalf.”
“I have asked somebody to investigate on this matter. Ang sabi sa Central Luzon P12 million yata per month at isang police officer daw ang nangongolekta nito. Dito sa Metro Manila, P400,000 a month, wala pa ‘yung sa ibang region doon,” Sueno explained.
Sueno admitted he had a brief interaction with the some gambling “operators” or their “emissaries” who even asked for a photo opportunity with him.
Later, the DILG chief said he started to get worried realizing that such photographs may be used to discredit or frame him.
“Lately ko na lang nalaman na sila pala ‘yun (illegal gambling operators or emissary,” Sueno said.