GOA, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com/04-Sept-2012) – Cash-starved illegal gambling syndicates are poised to resume operation after the cremation of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo on Tuesday in Naga City.
Last week, barely a day after the reported plane crash accident of Robredo off Masbate City on August 18, illegal “jueteng” (numbers game) operators had notified bet collectors to start operation, but it was stopped temporarily until the late Secretary’s final burial. The jueteng operators were forewarned earlier that the President and cabinet officials would attend the State funeral in Naga City, an event that might expose the existence of jueteng.
Robredo had succeeded in stopping illegal jueteng, and other forms of illegal gambling. He even succeeded in stopping the renewal of franchises of Small-Town Lotteries (STL) by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, a form of numbers game similar to jueteng that has some semblance of legality.
In the Bicol Region, STLs and jueteng were stopped after Robredo, as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary , imposed a “first strike policy” against police chiefs who are found to have illegal gambling operations in their areas of jurisdiction. The “first strike policy” will mandate the dismissal of the police officials from the police service.
The iron-fisted policy against jueteng had caused the loss of “informal jobs”, and income among thousands of bet collectors who are mostly senior citizens and the jobless, persons found unqualified and uncompetitive in the labor market.
Many police officials and politicians secretly on the “take” found themselves cash-starved after the DILG iron-fisted crackdown on illegal gambling.
The operators are carefully monitoring the next DILG Secretary who will be appointed by the President next week. The next Secretary will spell out if he is “tolerant” or “combative” on jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling.
In Philippine politics, the jueteng lords have become financiers in the candidacy of certain politicians in exchange of “franchises” in their bailiwicks to operate with impunity. They become powerful enough that they have a strong say in the appointment of police officials in the national down to the town level.
Some critics say that jueteng lords had bankrolled the candidacy of some senators and Presidential candidates in the past elections. The illegal numbers game has become a billion-peso “industry” that deprived the government of much-needed revenues. [BicolToday.com]
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