STL invades jueteng-free Catanduanes

Catanduanes Provincial Capitol Building. Photo by Rodolfo Franciscco

By Manly M. Ugalde

VIRAC, Catanduanes, 29Aug2017 — Resisted and sustained for decades by past leadership attempts to launch jueteng in this tiny island province, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office finally launched its Small Town Lottery operation in Catanduanes’ 11 towns amid strong opposition from the Church and anti-illegal gambling advocates.

PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan officially led the inauguration on August 4, attended by Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, Vice Gov. Shirley Abundo and five municipal mayors who received PCSO- donated ambulances. The STL outlet is located at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center at Barangay Gogon, 2-kilometers from the capital poblacion.

Balutan disclosed that any existing illegal numbers game will eventually be absorbed into the STL.

The launched Catanduanes STL branch finally completes the PCSO commitment to install every STL outlet in the Bicol six provinces now totaling 73 outlets throughout.

Absence of jueteng-operation for decades, however, Catanduanes is rocked by the so-called “ending game”, a gambling form based on the result of basketball games – either the PBA or NBA, mostly with the poor members of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare Administration as the market capitalized by gambling advocates in the barangay. A former provincial board member had been once identified as the “ending” gambling lord in the province.

Early this month, the PCSO was rocked by controversy in its STL operation with illegal gambling like jueteng remains unabated with the PCSO threatening to reduce the share for the Philippine National Police shares from STL operation due to anemic illegal gambling campaign. Senator Ping Lacson of the committee on games and amusement issued a statement last week that the PCSO is being cheated some P50 billion a year in STL operation with jueteng operation garnering the P50 billion share based on his empirical data.

According to Senator Lacson, the bookies and jueteng operation are known from the police.

In Albay, dubbed as the biggest source of jueteng money in the region as reported in a Senate hearing on illegal gambling during the Arroyo administration, the provincial board in a resolution sought for the stoppage
of its STL operation under the Lucky 5 Prime Enterprise Corp operator from Tagalog region.

Board members claimed they felt insulted over a repeated alibi of the STL operator during a recent regular session that the miserable STL collection was a result of the proliferation of STL bookies and jueteng operation.

An insulting and extremely anemic collection report during the regular session, Lucky 5 operator told the provincial board that its miserable failure to remit the minimum ceiling amount due for the PCSO was due to the unabated proliferation of STL bookies believed to be the jueteng operation.

Albay STL was launched early last May with a projection of a daily collection of P2.5 million. For the month of July, however, Lucky 5 Prime Enterprises Corp remitted to the PCSO a total of only P18,000.

The provincial board members claimed they are disturbed how jueteng and bookies could exist with impunity to defeat the government boasted STL with no less than President Duterte ordering the PNP and Local Government Executives to dismantle all illegal numbers game. Who are behind this bookies and jueteng operation, one board member asked.

Gov. Al Francis Bichara spokesman Danny Garcia claimed that the despised online gaming of Meridien Vista Gaming, which allegedly served as a mere front for jueteng since 2009, have actually dismantled operation on June 25 following the launching of the Albay STL in May.

Information gathered showed that STL card bearing bet collectors reportedly been moonlighting for jueteng in collaboration with old jueteng bet collectors in the barangay who now use cell phone texting to collect bets who, in turn, remit collections to STL bet collectors. The STL bet collectors, on the other hand, remit only a fraction of their collection to the STL operator.

PCSO deputy general manager Florante Solmerin, in a radio interview in Legazpi, said the STL bookies in Albay was a result of the quarrel among partners of lucky 5 Prime Enterprises Corp. [BicolToday.com]

Posted by on August 29, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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